Friday, November 08, 2013

Mann Building Update

The Latest:

Based on information I got today at the BEX Oversight Committee meeting, I knew that it was likely that an attempt would be made to clear the Mann Building.  I observed the building for a period of time late this afternoon.  I saw several people stop and look at the still-locked gates including a construction truck and private electrician company truck.  I saw no one come in or out of the building.

In the Open Thread it was reported at 6:43 that there was a Tweet that Banda had a Notice to Vacate the Property that said everyone had to be out by 6:00 pm today or they would be considered to have been "trespassed."  The Tweet was a rally to come to the building. 

Someone Said reported police and power trucks there.  Then at 7:52 pm, Someone Said reported that KIRO-tv tweeted that the Seattle City Light workers were "turned away" by Horace Mann occupiers but no police were there. 

Power had gone out at my home so my family and I left and did not see this information until 9:30 pm.  I went and checked the building at about 10 pm.  It is in exactly the same condition as I left it today.   Lights were on so the power to the building is not cut.  I do not believe whoever is occupying it is out.  

I am quite surprised that this happened at night when it would be much more difficult to access the building and easier for Africatown to rally people.  As well, it will be more difficult on the weekend when more people are around.  So the district picked a heck of a time to try to get in there.

Finally, today at the BEX Oversight Committee meeting, Flip Herndon told the committee that the contractor was told they would have access to the property on Tuesday morning.  Good luck with that.

Let's start with what happened at the School Board meeting on Wednesday.

The Superintendent included a "report" in his comments.  I was quite surprised at what he had to say given the state of the issue.  He said that he believes in the district creating more partnerships.  There was a lot of blah, blah about "passion for equity and excellence" and closing the eternal achievement gap.  He said that no, the building still had people in it and that they had discussion with SPD about this issue.   He said that Africatown had much to offer and was not bound by conventional methods.

Then he had Professor Qaasim, a professor at Shoreline Community College, give a presentation that he said had been scheduled when the item had been placed on the agenda.  The professor said virtually nothing new and nothing specific.  She did talk about the Al-Noor Academy of Arts and Science (ANAAS) that was at the Mann building (all 10 girls) and that is was not religious but taught a math focus but "religious culture is part of the curriculum."  (I will point out that this is precisely how charter schools bypass the religion argument when there are charters passed on ethnic backgrounds.  It's a slippery slope.)

She claimed there was a waiting list of providers for Africatown.   Africatown is miffed that the district is offering "rundown portables."  She made some vague reference to Banda "calling on blogs."  She said, "this does not stop, if we get the Mann building or not" which is an interesting statement given that, according to the district, they are not.

Her talk was supposed to be five minutes and it was nearly 20. 

The Superintendent went on to say that Africatown is 70% "moved out."  He mentioned incurring penalties from the contractor but was not specific.  He said the delay was in trying to "build rapport and relationships."  He also said what I had said was the issue - he said Legal told him this had to be voted on by the Board and that's why it had been brought before them.  He said this process is "not something that we wanted" and "in a way, it's kind of messy."  He claimed the building would be cleared by Monday.

Director Carr then spoke and expressed "deep disappointment in the handling of the situation." She said to get to the point of losing control of the building AND paying penalties was not good.  She said in her role as Audit and Finance Chair she asked chief counsel to report this to the State Auditor.   She was told that this issue was "not reportable."

Director Peaslee asked what the plan was going forward and how will the district continue to work with Africatown and where will they go?

Banda replied they are still talking about the Columbia Annex.

Martin-Morris said that he had "some concerns about what has transpired to this point."  He said he had "no doubt about Africatown" but he wanted to make sure that from July on, "did we receive any compensation from anyone in the building?"

I was quite surprised to hear the Superintendent say he did not know.   He asked Pegi McEvoy.  She said the last rent was from Amistad School and that was in June.

DeBell said that he was worried about setting a precedent here about leasing issues.  He said the district has a set of policies around those relationships and they need to determine if those possible partners meet those policies or criteria for a partnership.  He said they need a "good faith" situation.  He said it is taking too long to get possession of the building.

McLaren said, "I deeply regret that this has not worked out.  It's a big disappointment to me but I admire the good faith effort of the Superintendent and Africatown."

Patu said that "at the beginning I was a little confused" but that she had met with Africatown leaders and was able to see "exactly what was happening."  She said that with the African-American Academy "we set them up to fail."  They went against Board policy but she said sometimes that might have to happen.  "Kids are more important than money."

Banda said he didn't see this as the end but the beginning.  He said that Africatown has stepped up to do things like seeking tax-exempt status and "developing structure and finding outside consultants."

Smith-Blum said thank you to Banda for taking the situation in hand and hoped for quick resolution.

So they all voted to remove the item from the agenda.

I'm not going to go through all the testimony about Mann.  I will say that seconds before the woman started screaming about equity, she and a man across the aisle from her had some kind of altercation and he said, "But I'm Mexican" and that seemed to set her off.

During the break, I went out to the lobby to go to use the restroom.  I saw a woman I now is supporting the Mann building with other Mann supporting talking to a tv reporter.  She stopped me and said the reporter wanted to talk to me.  I excused myself and came back in a few minutes.  The man with her was friendly but told me what I was doing wasn't right.  Finally she told me that the reporter wanted my card and I gave him one and left.

The next day, someone let me know that I was being quoted as saying something at the Board meeting that a Mann supporter had said.  I called the station to speak to the reporter and get a correction.  He called back and apologized for the error.  Then he told me a strange story.

He said he and his cameraman had gone to the Mann building.  He said they had been walking the perimeter to get shots of the building and were confronted by two men with masks on.  The men asked the reporter and cameraman what they were doing.  The reporter said, just doing his job, no big deal.  One man half raised his mask and told the reporter they knew the police were "casing" the building and would be coming in at some point.  He indicated that they were not just going to leave the building.  He called himself a "Zapatista."  The reporter said it was an uneasy encounter.


Banda - I am baffled by his actions and reactions.  What looks like an initial effort to be sincere, open and accommodating now looks like capitulation.  No other district would put up with these kinds of action that leave the district open to huge risk issues, loss of dollars and slowing of a major capital construction schedule.

There have been deadlines given and none met. Not even tonight.

I was surprised to learn that Africatown (and likely most of the partners) do not have tax-exempt status.  

Board: I sense some pandering going on from some Board members when it would seem they would be united on two fronts.

One, this nonsense of a building takeover needs to stop and policies of the district upheld.

Two, that they need to stand firm that the Superintendent needs to report back to them what his plan is for closing the achievement gap of African-American students AND what the plan is for the uneven discipline of students of color.


Lynn said...

Africatown was incorporated in September. They do not have federal nonprofit status.

Ragweed said...

The decision not to force the tenant/squatters out is wise. Whether you support Africatown or not, the school district will be better off by quietly negotiating an alternate space, and reduce the risk of escalating to a major confrontation. Is it strictly following policy? No, but there are times when the consequences of deviating from policy are worth it. In this case, the potential legal costs from defending against the inevitable lawsuits will probably dwarf any costs that are currently being incurred.

Banda should have quietly brokered a deal a the start of the year and tried to have them moved to Columbia annex or wherever by the start of school. Letting it go on this long only serves to build the level of tensions and contributes to the occupiers getting more entrenched.

As for setting a precedent, I find that quietly compromising on situation like this doesn't result in more occupations. The Mann occupiers probably consist of a mix of sincere and dedicated individuals who genuinely want to serve kids as well as individuals who are just in it for the confrontation. Quietly arranging for an alternate gives the former an incentive to make things work and deflates the latter. And if managed right, you make it clear that each situation is decided on a case-by-case basis, so compromise in one situation does not preclude taking a harder line elsewhere.

Ed Lambert said...

I realize that you do not support the AIC, but please understand that people may find the treatment of students of color to be a more serious emergency that you do.

The AIC and those occupying the building are losing children every single day to a system of violence. That may not be your experience, but I again ask you to blame the institutions that cause SYSTEMIC VIOLENCE rather than the individuals who stand up to that system and cause minor inconveniences. They are using the only mechanism available to call attention to real and significant injustices.

They deserve your support and not your scorn.

FWIW, I was also at the board meeting, and what set the audience member off was the fact that he stated that "people did not understand the burden of being a property owner".

Think about that one for a while and you may fully understand why a mother worried about the life of her child might go off.


Anonymous said...

I was directed by an AfricaTown supporter to learn more about the history of Seattle's Black Panther Party.

On a related note there is a presentation on Saturday (today) on the Civil Rights Movement in Seattle at the Douglass-Truth branch library
Seattle Civil Rights in the 1960's: Martin Comes to Town

Here is another link to learn more about Seattle's Black Panther Party and related civil right groups:
The Black Panther Party in Seattle, 1968-1970 - Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project (UW)

Ann D.

Charlie Mas said...

It takes a long time, typically years, for an organization to be granted 501(c)(3) status from the IRS. There is no way that Africatown could have it yet.

Immediate use of a 501(c)(3) TIN for tax-deductible contributions is the biggest benefit for school support groups to align with the PTA or the Alliance for Education.

Individual views on this situation do not have to follow the shallow "with us or against us" dichotomy. It is possible to agree with Africatown about the crisis in education, to join with them in demanding immediate action from the District to address the crisis, and even to acknowledge the effectiveness of the tactic of the takeover of the Mann building, and still want the District officials to do their duty: to immediately address the crisis in education and to recover control of the public asset placed in trust with them.

The answer is not simply "Throw the squatters out!". Nor is the answer to surrender the building. The answer is for the District to immediately and aggressively address the mis-education of African-American students and recover control of the building.

Here is the impasse that I see:

Africatown has a valuable service, but needs space.

Africatown doesn't have the financial wherewithall to lease space at market rates.

The only leassor of non-market rate space for Africatown is the school district, which only has a few, small spaces of poor quality and sub-optimal location.

The solution, as I see it, is for one of the various educational charities (such as the Alliance for Education) to spring for a year's rent and utilities at a suitable space, such as the Islamic School, Coyote Central, MLK, or wherever. This will accomplish all of the objectives:

1. It will provide a suitable space for Africatown's activities.
2. It will allow construction at the Horace Mann building to proceed.
3. It will allow the work to address the crisis and the partnership between SPS and ACEI to proceed.

What else does anyone want?

We're lucky. This is a problem that money can solve. But for a variety of legal reasons, it can't be the School District's money. Time to seek funding and space from other, more promising, sources.

Where does the Alliance stand on the crisis of mis-education of African-American students? Where does the Gates Foundation stand? What would it cost to lease the Islamic School building for a year?

Let's start thinking about solutions, shall we?

cd resident said...

Some Africatown supporters have been consistently harnessing people in our neighborhood who are not African American or do not support their methods.The police do know and are taking this very seriously.
The problem is Ed, that many of us in the CD, know the leaders involved and do not believe that they have the ability to do what they say they will do. Many of us have at negative interactions with them over the years and are not surprised by this.
They are running a so called school with out insurance and only recently became a business. It is beyond me that the district continues with this, Banda and the district can not deal with this one simple problem and have been incurring a $1,000 per day fine. I question their ability to manage half a billion in construction funds.

Charlie Mas said...

There are victims - the children who are not provided with an appropriate academic opportunity - but neither the ACEI nor the school district are all good or all bad.

This is not a comic-book story with villains and victims. To portray it as such is an insulting simplification. It insults the intelligence of reader and it insults the parties involved.

The expectation that the School District fulfill its duty and re-assert control of a public asset placed in their trust does not constitute opposition to the ACEI or their goals. It is independent of them. Nor is that expectation in competition with concern for the crisis of mis-education of African-American children. It simply isn't.

We all blame the institutions responsible for this mis-education, but that doesn't mean that we support any and all acts taken in the name of opposing that mis-education.

Victimhood is no license to victimize. The woman screaming at the Board meeting was out of line. She was screaming about respect while offering none. We can sympathize, but that doesn't make her action acceptable or appropriate.

Charlie Mas said...

Oh! Let's get in touch with Norm Rice at the Seattle Foundation also and see if they want to write the check that will get us out of this jam.

Anonymous said...

Charlie Mas said...
The claim from the ACIC folks has no merit. None.

Much of what they say is simply false. Even the elements of their argument that are true simply are not relevant to the Mann Building or even their programs.

Have African-Americans been poorly served by institutions in general and Seattle Public Schools in particular? Yes. But that doesn't mean that this group should get the Mann Building. It has nothing to do with this.

If they really just want space for their programs, they have lots of options other than the Mann building.

If they want to do something about access to programs, this is not the right battleground.

If they want to do something about discipline rates, this is not the right battleground.

Yes, Omari and his group were robbed of the Coleman building. That's absolutely true. But that doesn't mean that his current group gets the Mann Building.

Is the Central Area a historically black neighborhood? Yes it is. Which is why there are already so many institutions in the neighborhood that historically and currently serve a predominantly black community. They don't need the Mann Building.

The School District does need the Mann Building and they need it to house the program that has been there for most of the last thirty-five years.
8/17/13, 9:22 AM

Reposted by
--enough already

Anonymous said...

Melissa writes:

"I observed the building for a period of time late this afternoon. I saw several people stop and look at the still-locked gates including a construction truck and private electrician company truck. I saw no one come in or out of the building."

With all due respect, maybe it's time to volunteer to help the poor educational outcomes for Black students (and others) you have recently been decrying.

This is starting to sound like a vendetta against this group. Walk your talk and help the students instead of doing a mini NSA up in here.

Enough already!

--enough already

Anonymous said...

I think everyone can agree that African American children need better education. But what qualification do the Africatown people have? As far as I can tell none! African American kids have gotten a raw deal in the past why assume that it would be better with the Africatown people.

At Umoja center the books they distribute are largely what the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as hate books. The usual black supremacist Nation Of Islam, anti Semitic, anti gay, hate literature. They preach that the police are the enemy and that the white man just wants to destroy black families.

Africatown is an evil group and it really bugs me that so many assume that they have good intentions without doing any research at all on them and the leaders. There is no way Nova could ever share space with them. Security would always be a concern as would the Nova kids not feeling comfortable around the Africatown leaders.

-Concerned in the CD

skeptical said...

I guess I do not buy the school to prison analogy. Yes Afican American students score lower on test scores but this is more due to factors outside of SPS schools control. Poverty seems to have a bigger impact on them then the schools teaching methods. We can not expect schools to solve this problem. I am not saying that the school district cannot not do better to serve this population, but at what cost. There are many problems that the district has to deal with and this is one of them, an important one, but one of many.
There are 50,000 students to try an educate and African American students are a group within, but are not the only students who are struggling.
I guess I would like to know if this organization has the plan and ability to educate students in a way to overcome the challenges that they face. At the board meeting, the instructor from the community college did not give anything specific, but rambled on for fifteen minutes. Before the district commits very limited resources to this problem, will Aficatown be able to perform and produce results.

Anonymous said...

This is a crazy situation. I don't have an opinion on AfricaTown or even know much about it, but you can't complain about being treated like thugs if you act like thugs.

What's becoming more clear to me with every incident is that our district has no leadership. No one is capable of making a sensible decision at an appropriate time. No one knows what's going on. Resources are being mismanaged. Our Superintendent is clueless and incompetent. Our Board is a group incapable of managing public resources, incapable of holding the superintendent accountable for being worth his salary and incapable of ensuring the education of our children. If it weren't for the teachers, principals and parents no child would be learning anything.

The board and Banda should be DEEPLY embarrassed by this situation. They should lock themselves in a room at the JSC and have someone teach them how to run a school district.
- Disgusted

Charlie Mas said...

I still oppose deeding the building to the ACEI. Just as I did then.

The statements made by the ACEI back then are just as false now as they were then.

At that time and now I decried the mis-education of African-American students.

Then, as now, there are other spaces where the program can go.

Then, as now, the school district has a duty to recover control of the building.

Thank you, enough already, for confirming the consistency of my principles.

What has changed are the ACEI's demands. They are still demanding immediate action by the District to address the crisis, but while before they were demanding ownership and permanent control of the Mann building, now they are demanding very cheap rent on other District property. I don't oppose that. In fact, I think they can do better.

I've said this a number of times before, but some folks are having trouble with the nuance. I support the ACEI's aims. I acknowledge the effectiveness of their tactics. But that doesn't mean that I think the District should deed them the Mann building or even allow them to continue to control it. The District has a duty here and I expect them to fulfill it. Yes, the duty to provide children with an appropriate academic opportunity, but also the duty to be a good steward of the public assets placed in their trust.

Charlie Mas said...

Why have I not devoted myself 100% to the cause of securing an appropriate academic opportunity for African-American children here in Seattle and nationwide?

First, because I have other obligations which occupy me.

Second, because I don't think that the African-American community are looking for a White Knight to ride in and solve this problem for them. That would be paternalistic and belittling, don't you think? Acknowledging my privilege is one thing. Thinking that anyone needs me to solve this problem for them would only be a further exercise of it.

cd resident said...

It's hard to support a cause or a group that confront people with masks. If they want my support they need to move out first and then establish themselves as a legitimate organization, just like everyone else. The situation of Afican American children is not going to be solved overnight, as this progresses they are just shooting them in the foot.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I was talking about Melissa putting her energy into something other than being Gladys Kravitz (from Bewitched) in this situation, but if the shoe fits.....The fact is, if you had been more balanced about context and the crisis in education from the beginning (rather than focusing on your role as a NOVA parent and property rights) then the dichotomy that you are now decrying might have been mitigated somewhat in your readership.

Disgusted, Remember that the Trayvon Martin verdict, SCOTUS ruling scaling back the Voting Rights Act, and the feds being called into SPS to address disproportionality in discipline toward Black students all created a perfect storm this summer for this Mann movement to arise. Years of neglect by people like MGJ and Enfield (who put the business community ahead of everyone else) also are a significant part of the context.
Blaming this administration and school board alone (although they certainly bear responsibility) is shortsighted.

--enough already

mirmac1 said...

I think an important point that was missed in this blog post was Banda said those associated with AEIC are out. Those that remain are not part of AEIC and, as has been reported, are considered trespassers and will be removed.

It was also apparent that the majority on the board made statements in support of both Mr Banda and AEIC. The corporate minority felt it necessary to spank Banda about "property rights".

I found that man's testimony about well its not gentrification, it's reverse diversification or somesuch quite insulting. He essentially said his kind was doing the CD a favor.

Watch the vidoe

Anonymous said...

Here is the video to watch. This is from earlier in the year when Omari, the guy that assaulted the mayor and broke his jaw, spewed racist comments at an asian worker trying to take down banners at Key Bank site.

Do we really want this guy around our children?

CD Resident

Anonymous said...

Is Banda misinformed of has the AIC group disassociated with the More for Mann group? The More for Mann Facebook page has 2 posts from yesterday evening, both about retaining control of the building. When I went by at 8:30 last night, there were a dozen people gathered out front on the Cherry side of the building. The 2 behind the closed gate were absolutely associated with AIC.

I think the ongoing misinformation from the AIC/Africatown/M4M group makes it very difficult to have a deep and complete understanding of the goals of the group.


Anonymous said...

I think the solution to the achievement gap will need to come from within the community. If a school is being created it needs to be started as a school. If it is an after school program then the group needs to find space, but taking over a school for an after school program is not a legal use of a public school. I don't believe from what I've seen on the links to Africatown websites that the organizers want non-black people to take part in any of it, especially the organizing. So they need administrators and teachers. I don't know if it is legal to exclude non-black people from public property.
Next Step

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ragweed, given the costs of these on-going negotiations (with groups the district has no partnerships with), how long should this go on? Just asking.

Charlie outlines the issue very well. I will note that I understand that Africatown has tried to rent elsewhere and could not get a lease. I wonder why. (I also know that Africatown asked for money through the F&E levy and were denied it because they had no real proposal to submit - they just wanted money and that isn't how that levy works.)

CD is also correct; it is unclear if Africatown had any insurance for its groups and/or had done background checks that even PTA members have to do to work with children. Again, this sets a bad precedent for people to follow.

Enough Already, I have done volunteer work in the CD with black children and in the SE. But thanks for asking.

Mirmac, how do you think these "other people" got into the building? According to one website, at some point during the three years keys were made "and given to the community." Well, the original key was in someone in Africatown's possession. And, I'm certain Africatown knows the people in the building. His own father was there last night trying to dissuade the City Light worker.

Jim said...

Good luck with getting the building back. It took eight years to remove the Garretts from Colman school.

Lynn said...


Africatown folks will handle all these details in the course of their strategizing and negotiations. But what all of this adds up to is this: there is no split in the movement, just a diversity of tactics. The people who remain inside the Mann building right now, behind the barricades, are also part of the More4Mann and Africatown movements, and are also fighting to create a community there, where Black youth can learn and grow. They are not some radical “break away faction” or “violent extremists” or whatever else the media will want you to believe. They have the same goals as the educators and folks with Phds who are trying to negotiate with the district.

You can read the rest of this blog post Here.

It's certainly possible that Banda is correct and the author of that post is lying.

Lynn said...


Maybe Andaiye Qaasim can get the League of Education Voters to fund the program for one year. It seems like something they'd support. I wonder why she hasn't already approached them?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lynn, that is interesting as Ms. Qaasim has a Facebook page called Seattle Public School Boycott. Today they posted an "Emancipation Proclamation from Equal Opportunity in the City of Seattle" against the SPD and SPS.

"That on the Nineth Day of November, 2013, the Black Community, protector of our children and youth within the City of Seattle, therefor, shall be in resistance against these inequities by the Seattle Public Schools, BLACK CHILDREN AND YOUTH shall be then, henceforth, and forever Free; and the African American Community in the City of Seattle, will collectively use any governmental entities, laws, facilities, equipment, books, and/or other resources necessary to educate and protect Black Children and Youth from the continued educational abuse of their dignity, identity, culture, and humanity in Seattle Public Schools."

What's baffling to me is if Africatown hates SPS so much, why not go charter? Seems to be what they want which is control over a building and over the curriculum/teaching.

I do find it somewhat odd that someone that works for LEV seems to hate public education this much (as least in Seattle). LEV seems more like a solid-citizen group than a firebrand group but that's just my take.

What seems to be a sticking point (in what I read) is that they want a guarantee to be back in Mann with Nova. I can't see that happening.

They also say:

"Africatown residents have refused to move, delaying construction and creating an accelerating political crisis for the SPS leadership."

This is the first time I've seen anyone admit this is the case.

They decry the delay by Ron English and say, "This delayed the negotiations, causing libertarian-minded opponents of both Africatown AND Banda to become more and more enraged about how much money is being lost due to delays in renovations at at Mann."

I never saw or heard Banda become enraged so that's interesting wording. Now the Board is unhappy about the money, for sure.

"Two of the board members (Patu and Peasley) seemed supportive of Banda last night, and another two (Debell and Carr) seemed openly hostile." (That would be Peaslee.)

Hostile is not the word I would use - I'd say worried.

"But we should take inspiration from the fact that the actions at Horace Mann have created political tensions among the city’s managerial class, tensions that we could possibly exploit to further push our own agenda."

It's quite the piece. "..distortions coming from folks like Melissa Westbrook and others who have described Africatown as a bunch of squatters with no expertise and no capacity to actually teach students."

Nope, never said that. I asked what the proposal is and that's exactly what the district and the City have asked for - in writing. If you want taxpayer money, you have to explain yourself to everyone from the taxpayer to the Mayor.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Part Two:

"(it’s worth noting that Westbrook is something like a “kingmaker”; she was influential in taking down a previous superintendent, Dr. Goodloe Johnson)."

Really? You mean because this blog exposed the Silas Potter story? That was Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's own doing, not mine. Don't shoot the messenger. I wish I had that power.

"Finally, people are rejecting the “occupier” and “squatter” labels because it’s insulting to be called a squatter in a building that was once a historically Black school in a neighborhood that has rapidly gentrified. Africatown folks insist they are not occupying the building, they are simply taking it back for their neighborhood, and if the district comes in and takes it over, they will be the ones “occupying” it through the force of their occupying army – the Seattle Police."

"While Lynne Varner is trying to lump the people in the buidling in with the educators in order to shame Banda, Banda is trying to separate the two groups in order to make himself look like someone who only negotiates with what he called “certified community organizations.” Personally, I don’t trust Banda and I think that most of his attempts to negotiate have been attempts to coopt and diffuse the movement. But, in the the face of mounting pressure to his right, he might exchange the carrot for the stick; he might decide that he needs to send in police in order to show his critics that he can take charge of the situation."

"It is true that the Africatown educators are negotiating with Banda and the school board to rent a new space for their programs. It is also true that they made a tactical decision to move their educational programs out of the Mann building temporarily in order to secure their classes and equipment, leaving other movement participants to secure the building itself. Folks can certainly debate the pros and cons of this tactic, but we need to be clear on this: it is NOT true that they have given up on trying to take back the Mann building. Noone has publicly renounced that strategic goal which has always been central to the movement. More importantly, noone has denounced the Africatown residents who continue to hold the building."

(To note, there are many spelling and grammar errors in the piece; I didn't want to write "sic" after each one.)

They continue to hold to this idea which cannot be done:

"One Africatown source said that it may be possible to continue educational programs in the Mann building itself while the new extension is built, then they could conduct these programs in the extension while the old building is renovated."

"The task force of Africatown residents that has been negotiating with Supt. Banda never claimed to represent or govern all of Africatown, and should not be held responsible for everything that people in Africatown or their comrades might choose to do."

Ah, there's that distancing that they argue against. Confusing.

Lynn said...

I agree with CD Resident. We are doing the children of our community no favors by spending our limited time and resources dealing with this group. Better to follow through on the recommendations the district's task forces have made.

Does anyone know if Banda has even seen those? If we're going to get a new superintendent every two years or so, they can't be reinventing every process when they show up. There just isn't time.

Anonymous said...

Variety of Mann news :


mirmac1 said...

I took Banda's statement to mean the district will not brook any further occupation and will not deal with those in the building. I take the strong language in the proposed lease to say the district will severe ties if the AEIC resorts to these kind of methods.

Melissa Westbrook said...

No,Mirmac, the language is to anyone from Africatown,their visitors or invitees - the district does not want any more disruption (and yet they can't even get the building back).

mirmac1 said...

Sorry Melissa, used shorthand (don't have the language in front of me.

I understand power is cut to the building. It may be the second Battle in Seattle. I just want the stand off over with and the real work to begin. After the board mtg, I see that the board majority and the Supt feel the same.

Melissa Westbrook said...

If the power is cut to the building, it happened today. It was not cut last night when I went by.

Someone said...

There are several tweets from supporters indicating that yes, power is off, and calling for help.

"Here's how you can help #Africatown @More4Mann lights out - Call Seattle Public Schools and demand that they turn..."

"#Africatown @More4Mann supporters @seapubschools / City Light has cut power this morning! Please bring generator,... "

Melissa Westbrook said...

So if the power is off, why doesn't the district send in the police? Hmm. If they get a generator in there, this is going to turn into a long slog. I suspect something is up and we will hear about it soon.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

There is a generator running. Very loud.


joanna said...

The Umoja Peace Center has been around for awhile and has had plenty of time to secure a 501c3.

Anonymous said...
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David said...

They need to turn off the water as well.

Franklin Pierce said...

This is just sad. The AficaTown takeover of the building and how its leaders have tried to portray themselves as leaders of our community does not serve to help. It is self serving to the detriment of our kids and any meaningful dialogue to the problems facing African American kids. The district needs to end this now and allow the real leaders of our community to be involved and not some vocal fringe group.

Anonymous said...

Latest Mann report :


Leaders? said...

@Franklin Pierce

Who are the real leaders of the community? What community are you talking about?

What has been the progress of their leadership on the issues raised by More 4 Mann?

These are not new issues, where have these leaders been?

Where was the conversation at before the Mann situation?

Lynn said...

I think I've spent all the mental energy I can on this situation. Eventually they'll be forced out by the police. Wyking will have gained access to some school district space. There will be no improvements to the educational experience of any students in the Central District. The reopening of Meany will be delayed and Washington will continue to be overcrowded.

I am now more concerned about when the board will notice how much money the Superintendent's mishandling of this situation has cost - and the results will be the same as if he had contacted the police in June when the Amistad school left.

It's been an educational experience for me. The reactions of seemingly reasonable people to this nonsense were totally unexpected.

Someone said...

@Melissa - curious why my posts w/tweets were removed? I did not post anonymously, nor call names -and removed the tweeter's identity on purpose as they were not my material

just provided info - don't see where that violated any rules - am I missing something??


Melissa Westbrook said...

Someone, if I deleted them in error, I'm sorry. It may have been I missed the signature (that does happen sometimes). Put them back up if you'd like.

cd parent said...

Kiro was warned to turn off their lights last night or " their guy on the roof has an itchy trigger finger" and might think they are the police. Kiro this morning spoke about Omar's involvement with Africatown ( remember the guy who smashed the mayor in the face and went to jail). As a long time CD resident, I know him and his racist, opportunism lunacy.
I want to know from the Aficatown supporters about how they support this guy.

scarred said...

Guys with masks and guns on roof. Where are the police. This is getting our of hand. Who is Omar?

Anonymous said...

Melissa, you misread this:

"causing libertarian-minded opponents of both Africatown AND Banda to become more and more enraged about how much money is being lost due to delays in renovations at at Mann"

They are saying that there are people ("libertarian-minded opponents") who oppose both Africatown and Banda, and that those people are becoming enraged. Not that Banda is enraged.

A small thing, but clarity is still important.


Anonymous said...

I would think that any mutual agreement or trust has been severely strained. The idea of co-housing or co-location in any school building seems risky to me with the new charter laws. The facebook photo's of the Museum sign on the Mann school door and the posted house rules seem like a revisit to the Colman days. This needs to be about children and their opportunities. I think the community center aspect and programing is great but, needs another location.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you, Garfield Mom. You are right, I missed that point.