A crowd of 150 demonstrators gathered at Heritage Park in Olympia on Saturday to call for an end to racial injustice and deadly shootings by police.
Some held signs that read “Justice for all,” “End police brutality” and “People of quality don’t fear equality.” The march through downtown to the Capitol coincided with the larger March for Racial Justice in Washington D.C. on Saturday and similar events held across the country over the weekend.
Kyleen Inman, 22, from Olympia, said this was her first time participating in such a march. She said in the current political climate, racial justice is a “really big deal.”
James Bowman, 34, marched holding a “Black Lives Matter” sign. Bowman, who is black, said he has been profiled by police since he was a child growing up in Olympia.
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“Police follow me, pull me over, target me for no reason,” he said. “One of these days I’m afraid I’m going to get pulled over and I’m not going to go home to my family.”
Olympia’s march was organized by De-Escalate Washington, which is proposing an initiative that would require law enforcement officers receive violence de-escalation and mental health training. It would also change the state’s law that makes it difficult to charge officers involved in fatal shootings.
A similar proposed initiative failed to get on the ballot last year.
Joyce Dorsey spoke before the march. Her son Che Taylor was shot and killed by Seattle police in 2016.
“If we want something different, we have to do something different,” Dorsey told the crowd. “It will hit your home if we don’t do something. It will be in your community if we don’t do something.”