Monday, November 11, 2013

Mann Building Update

Water/electricity/heat are shut off.  Illegal tenants have a generator running and "guards" at the building.  There are many more signs up on the fence and black plastic draping the stairs.

Naturally, there have been no classes going on and most educational materials are being stored in the portable at the site.

KIRO reported receiving a voice mail asking them to not shine their camera lights on the building as the guy on the roof has an "itchy trigger finger."  KIRO claims the call came from a cell phone in the building but the illegal tenants say it was someone trying to create drama.  (One of several reporters on the scene seems to think an ID can be made of the voice but that information has been passed onto the police and they can figure that one out.)

I think many within the district are tiring of this situation and it is likely to be resolved before the end of the week.

28 comments:

Patrick said...

What a lot of drama. By waiting, SPS has allowed the faction occupying the building to build really thorough defenses and have a really spectacular violent confrontation when law enforcement has to go in. They should have cleared the building as soon as the legitimate tenants were gone, as soon as they suspected there were people still there and extra keys floating around, and without announcing when they were coming. As it is, people are likely to get killed, and that won't do anything either for the District or for people who want to improve the sad state of education for African American students.

UW uses private blanks for their keys, so they can't be duplicated at just any lock shop. Maybe SPS should consider the same. Obviously too late for this time, but for the future.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Patrick, no one will get killed. The people in the building are not violent (although I do not believe this will be pleasant). I'd like to think the leaders will take the high road and leave with grace.

I feel confident that Superintendent Banda will convene a group of African-American leaders, educators and parents from all over the city and address these issues in a timely and transparent manner.

I think the Washington Alliance of Black School Educators would be a good place to start.

Patrick said...

I hope not. It seems possible that the nonviolent faction has already left the building, and the only ones left are the ones with dreams of a blaze of glory. Guards threatening to shoot, barricades throughout the building, etc. But I hope you are right.

cd parent said...

Remember it's the same Omari who went to jail for holding a gun to the head of a police officer, who had a restraining order on him for threatening MGJ and went to jail for hitting Paul Schell in the face with a megaphone. This guy is insane and yes the father of the leader of Africatowns.

cd parent said...

If something bad happens it ultimately is the fault of Banda for letting this thing get out of hand.

Ed Lambert said...

On other threads that are no longer open to comments, folks have specifically asked me why I support the AEIC and so I wanted to answer here. (Apologies if it appears out of context).

First off, I want to say that I personally wish there was more attention on the ISSUE that the AEIC is PROTESTING, rather than the drama around protest tactics.. The obvious issue is that Seattle schools are doing a poor job of connecting with and educating many students of color. The educators at the AEIC have been creating specific techniques for connecting with these students that could be replicated and serve greater numbers of students (of ALL backgrounds) in the future. In places like Tucson, educators have had great success creating culturally relevant and engaging curriculum and that could be done here.

I also want to say that I may not agree with EVERY one of the ideas being promoted by EVERY one of the AEIC educators. There are likely some ideas that I personally would disagree with. However, I fully support their attempts to address the larger problem. In that same spirit, I have walked miles in the rain with Melissa flyering against Charters, even though we may disagree on other aspects of education.

(To answer an earlier question from Lynn - homophobia is not acceptable to me, and I have personally seen LGBTQ folks involved and welcomed at the AEIC).

Like Melissa, I do not think the people in the building intend anyone harm, they are simply very committed to an idea and have been given limited options. However, I remain concerned that the media narrative of ‘violent extremist’ is being propagated as an excuse for draconian action on the part of the SPD and/or ‘vigilante’ neighbors. Historically, the dominant culture over-reaction in these cases is completely disproportionate.

By its own admission, the district has NO PLAN for acting to improve the quality of education for students of color. THAT should be the real story.

cd parent said...

Ed,
No one would disagree with you that SPS does a bad job at educating African American kids, but your blind loyalty to the problem has limited your ability to see many involved with AEIC as supporting racist, homophobic antisemitic sentiments.
I'm sure that there are many within your group that are good meaning and have sound ideas, but the Garricks have been a plague on the CD for years and as long as they are involved I can never support or believe that they have children's best I interest at heart.
You say they have specific techniques, well what are they and what data is there to support its success. They have been been asked time and time again to provide this info and they refuse only to say we don't have to justify ourselves to the "dominant culture" well I'm sorry but they do if they want resources from that same group.
I for one hope that Omari and his band of misfits don't get hurt, but they do nothing to help the cause of the failure of SPS educating African American children.

Anonymous said...

Originally, the Africatown group claimed that they couldn't leave Mann because it would displace children's programming. Aside from a few weeks of summer programming for a couple dozen kids, there have not been ongoing offerings for youth, from the cd or otherwise. Africatown made false claims about their affiliations with other community groups, including Seattle Young People's Project. One of their early supporters and teachers threatened SPS and Nova students.

We can fault the district all day for their failures. We should push for change. We should not support dishonest agitators who seem to be more interested in police bating then in the well being of the students of this district.

It looks like the occupy/anarchist community has now stepped into the mix. I do not think they are well informed on the issues. They are using rhetoric- claiming that "educators have been forced out of the building, and will now have to teach in the street." Only those who have been uninvolved can make such claims. I also wonder if they are aware of the racist, homophobic, misogynistic beliefs and teachings of many in leadership of the Africatown. I wonder if they are aware that their actions create substantial stress for thousands of other students and families- including some of our most vulnerable.

Banda and the district really messed this up. Africatown really messed this up. The latest M4M recruits really messed this up.


missed opportunity

empowered culture said...

So here is the real issue and ordinary people pontificating on this blog as if they have some real power outside of their small social network and pretend they actually have some say in the lives of African American or anyone by calling themselves the 'dominant culture', a term use to appeased common white folk from addressing their own relative degradation

The real problem if not addressed will eventually close more than the item of distraction called the Mann building, through federal court order, class action etc. The Mann building is just a metaphor of how absolutely useless are for black children and youth; any many of students.

EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION FROM UNEQUAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY FROM SPS IN THE CITY OF SEATTLE

WHEREAS, The United States Department of EDUCATION is investigating the Seattle Public Schools for its discriminatory treatment of Black children and youth

WHEREAS, The Seattle Police Department is under Federal Court Supervision for its inequitable treatment of nonwhites

WHEREAS, there is a State of Emergency in Education for Black children and youth in the Seattle Public Schools

WHEREAS, the Seattle Public Schools has disproportionately disciplined Black children and youth

WHEREAS, the Seattle Public Schools has overrepresented Black children and youth in Special Education

WHEREAS, the Seattle Public Schools has underrepresented
Black children and youth in Advanced Placement Curriculum

WHEREAS, Black children and youth are not safe from DISCRIMINATION in Seattle Public Schools

"That on the Nineth Day of November, 2013, the Black Community, protector of our children and youth within the City of Seattle, therefore, 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.

We, declare this right as citizens and residents of the United States, under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, under the Equal Education Provisions in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, under the Free and Appropriate Public Education Provision of IDEA, and under Chapter 392-190 of the Washington State WAC.

empower culture said...

Those who distract from the fair and equal treatment of black students in their schools, those who embolden the inequities and injustice to our children by SPS staff and administrator, those who distract, whites and blacks are just wasting their time; For until SPS in the City of Seattle is force to HALT the cruelty against our children the 'real' dominant culture, THOSE WHO STAND FOR JUSTICE WILL NOT STOP!

Anonymous said...



Who has the solutions ?

http://www.seattlefoundation.org/npos/Pages/UmojaFest.aspx

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2013581711_horacemann03m.html

http://www.seattlefoundation.org/npos/Pages/WorkItOutSeattle.aspx?bv=nposearch

http://crosscut.com/2012/01/17/education/21790/Seattle-district-needs-schooled-on-students-realit/


PSP

Carol Simmons said...

Dear Ed,

Thank you. I agree with so many of the comments you have made.
As I previously posted, when I visited the Mann building it was explained patiently and respectfully to me by two leaders of Africa Town why they and others felt it was necessary to take this action as our District was unable or unwilling to correct the mis education of certain groups of students of color. It was heartbreaking to walk around in that cold building without children and observe the colorful drawings that were proudly displayed on the classroom walls. It continues to be heartbreaking that this action was deemed necessary to draw attention to the inequities that exist in our District.
I have no doubt that the two educators with whom I spoke are sincere in their commitment to educating students. I am also convinced that they will continue to work to correct the disproportionality which exists in academic achievement and discipline sanctions between certain groups of students of color and white students.
Whatever the outcome of this effort, attention to the disproportionality which exists in education has been publicized. No longer can anyone in our District or in our City ignore that disproportionality exists. Perhaps because of these efforts, effective solutions to the deplorable condition of disproportionality will be found. Nothing else has been effective so far.

Anonymous said...

I just wish the interest and energy that Melissa and others have put into getting Africatown out of the building were put into dealing with the education inequities in SPS.

Disproportionality has never been a priority on this blog, and it wouldn't surprise me if some can't wait for the relief of going back to the mainstays of pressing topics for most readers--APP and neighborhood boundaries.

Thanks, Ed Lambert, for your consistent message of justice.
Thanks, Carol Simmons, for your relentless work on this issue over many years. Your voice is one which needs to keep being heard.

It's convenient to focus on the well known whack jobs like the Paul Schell assaulter. What about the legitimate voices who have been advocates for this movement?

Good job doing some past tutoring in the schools, Melissa. Maybe a refresher course would be helpful about now.

--enough already

Melissa Westbrook said...

Enough already, you said this,
"I just wish the interest and energy that Melissa and others have put into getting Africatown out of the building were put into dealing with the education inequities in SPS."

I have consistently fought against educational inequities in our district. That's one reason I became an activist. And I know that those whose opinions I value know it.

For example, it would be an educational inequity to assign Central Area students to Meany if it is not renovated as it is the building in the worst condition in our district. I don't want that for them and that's why I believe Africatown needs to vacate Mann.

Consider I just finished yet another tutoring assignment out at Ballard for Hispanic students, no, I don't need a refresher course.

Anonymous said...

Ed,
I doubt very much that the LGBTQ community at Nova, including students of color, is comforted much by your personal observation. CD neighbors are not. AIC actively promoted the teachings of Dr Umar Johnson, a radical homophobe.
neighbor

Anonymous said...

There is a practical angle on this mess. The block where Umoja Center is located and where Omari lives just got rezoned and is getting developed. http://www.centraldistrictnews.com/2013/11/with-community-input-a-smaller-step-to-build-higher-at-23rd-and-union/ Omari gets free rent in exchange for cleaning up the block. He is going to be kicked out of there soon and needs someplace for him and his cohorts to live. That is why they have taken over Mann and that is why reporters aren't allowed past the foyer. This has nothing to do with education. What could Omari possibly teach anyone except black supremacist hate filled garbage? It is not like their beliefs are somehow hidden. Just talk to Omari or Wyking or any of the guys that hang around 22nd and Spring. They are a blight on the CD.

-Concerned In The CD

empowered culture said...

There is one issue and that is the Equal Educational Opportunity for African American Students, and the distraction of the Mann Building, Blogs, rezoning, racist rants about a black man in the Mann building cleaning the CD area for whites, won't deter or distract us from our children's rights as U.S. citizens; the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and one of the earlier element of that is a SCHOOL without discriminators, bias educational practices and policies. PERIOD!

"We, declare this right as citizens and residents of the United States, under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, under the Equal Education Provisions in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, under the Free and Appropriate Public Education Provision of IDEA, and under Chapter 392-190 of the Washington State WAC."

empowered culture said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Charlie Mas said...

Could someone please direct me to the "racist rants about a black man in the Mann building cleaning the CD area for whites". I haven't read that.

Anonymous said...

Very disturbing that Melissa is attempting to call someone's identity and workplace out, and then deleting the post of the person's defense against this violation.

Isn't that against the rules on this blog?

--enough already

empowered culture said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa Westbrook said...

I have said that Charlie and I are overdue on talking about the blog and its framework.

One thing that I personally need to make clear is that I am not going to be threatened by anonymous people. I will take slings and arrows (and even praise) from anonymous people but I will not be threatened.

Empowered got very upset over my question and I have now remove that comment and his/hers follow-ups with threats.

The understanding should be that this blog is a public service but it is one that Charlie and I work very, very heard at and yes, we have the final say on what gets printed.

yourefired said...

Melissa, what you stated is not true. I read each of empowered culture's statements. You stated ec worked for an organization, ec said no and questioned your ethics to call out ID on your blog. If what you just reported is true please repost ec comments and let them stand on their own. Are we all at risk of you contacting employers if someone states something you disagree with? Repost and let each of us be the judge. If not you evidently have something to hide.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I didn't ID anyone. I said I thought he/she worked for LEV (but didn't say how I might know that which would have been the link). I mentioned LEV because it's interesting that they have so much concern for disproportionality in discipline yet they stay silent and Africatown certainly doesn't call them out for lack of support.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I've posted numerous times under another pseudonym and I was startled to read Melissa call out empowered culture's workplace and potentially ID her/him.

I will now have to consider whether or not I will comment again. This is disheartening but it would be very problematic for me to have my identity and workplace revealed.

With that said, I certainly don't condone threats against Melissa or anyone else.

--- disheartened

Disturbing said...

With all do respect,

I wished I had copied ec comments, but ec did not threatened Melissa, just reacted when Melissa removed ec's comments after it was stated ec did not work for the employer, Melissa asked about, and ec expressed concerns regarding privacy. EC questioned Melissa on the ethics of that. Why should Melissa be interested in any of our employers and remove our comments after she states she will be contacting them. I have never experience this on any blog!! More than disheartening, disturbing!

Anonymous said...

Here's another piece of the problem:

Melissa wrote--

"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."
11/9/13, 11:16 AM

It seemed to me like Melissa was trying to link emancipation culture to this person at LEV.
Also, I certainly did not perceive ec comments as "threatening" Melissa, but ec stated that he/she would alert LEV that this situation had occurred in order to make sure the person in question was aware of this breech.

Accountability is quite different from a threat in my world.

--enough already

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well,now that this thread has disintegrated into one about me (and it's not about me), here's a good place to end it.

The only thing I can say is that I get to decide what a threat is in my world. But I suspect I know where this comments are coming from so it doesn't matter.