Images from the August 15 "Stand with Shoreline Youth" Rally
For the past several weeks, 13-year-old Kailyn Jordan and her family have been on the receiving end of a series of racist assaults and actions by a few of their neighbors. I detailed some of the issues in my coverage a "Chalk it up for Love" event in their neighborhood for Real Change last week.
This past Saturday, Shoreline Black Lives Matters held a "Stand with Shoreline Youth" Rally in front of a crowd of a few hundred supporters at the Shoreline City Hall to show their support for Kailyn and other black and brown youth in Shoreline. Similar to the "We Want to Live" rally and march in Seattle on June 7, young people took center stage for much of Saturday's rally with speeches and performances.
For a larger selection of images from the event, check out my Shoreline BLM Aug 15 Youth Rally album.
Here are a few of my images and observations from the rally.
Mikayla Weary and Kailyn Jordan: Young Activists with Unique Styles
Saturday was the second time I watched 17-year-old Mikayla Weary and 13-year-old Kailyn Jordan speak in front of a crowd. These two young Shoreline activists are both powerful and emotional speakers, each with their own unique styles.
Mikayla wears her heart and soul on her face and in her movements as she speaks. Every other word evinces a new expression, displaying a wide range of emotions from anger and incredulity to hope and longing in the click of a shutter. When she took the stage to speak, I quickly positioned myself at her feet to capture as many of those changes as I could. I did not want to miss out.
No less an emotive speaker, Kailyn keeps a steadier eye before her than Mikalya as she addresses the crowd. I don't know that at thirteen I could have ever stood in front of a crowd of hundreds and do what Kailyn has done. Thirteen year olds should be riding their bikes and getting into good, teenage trouble. Kailyn has opted for the good trouble all right, growing into her activist role in the community.
There were several other powerful and energizing young speakers on Saturday, but for now it's clear that Mikayla and Kailyn are on tracks to be leaders to look out for in their communities.
The Crowd and Bike Brigade Keep Agitators Out
The event was energetic and peaceful, with a loud, engaging crowd. However, a small group of men tried repeatedly to interrupt the rally with their "Jesus Saves" placards and slogans. The men, who are white, are well-known in the Seattle activist community for the disruptive actions they've initiated during BLM events and other protests throughout this summer.
The Bike Brigade -- a group of men and women who have attended Black Lives Matter events to help protect supporters from agitators -- were present. They helped to organize the crown to form a human chain to keep the agitators away from the speakers.
(I'd say more about the Bike Brigade, but when I tried to engage with a couple of their members to get more information about them, they refused to acknowledge that they were part of the brigade, and told me that they do not speak to the press.)
Images of the Crowd
Shoreline being a predominantly white community -- Caucasians make up 60%+ of the population, while African-Americans are less than 10%) -- the crowd seemed to have a slightly greater ratio of black supporters than the community at large.
I'm not good at estimates, but I'd say the crowd was at least 300, and all fully masked (except for the agitators).
One Final Image of Shoreline's Youth
This post, as I said, is a brief summary of my observations with just a few of the images I captured. I'm less a journalist than a street photographer, so I encourage you to visit the Black Lives Matter Shoreline Facebook Page for greater insights into the issues the black community in Shoreline is facing, and my Shoreline BLM Aug 15 Youth Rally album for a greater variety of images from the event.
In the meantime, I'll leave you with these beautiful children. They were scuffling through the feet of the speakers on stage throughout the event, but they were mostly too quick, or too much in the shadows, for my camera to catch them. I lucked out with this one. Let's call it "The Future of Shoreline's Youth."
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