One of the brightest highlights of 2017: The anti-immigrant profiling initiative Proposition 1 ballot was tossed off the fall ballot by Superior Court Judge Julie McKay!
Prop 1 would have invited rampant racial profiling and harassment against Latinos, Asian Americans, Arab Americans, and others presumed to be “foreign” based on how they look or sound. Singling out individuals based on their accent, skin color, or appearance is counter to our community values! PJALS members stood strong and were among the first to talk with voters and give money to organize against the initiative. Our PJALS community showed up and together with our partners we made a big difference!
We co-organized a broad and strong coalition of more than 25 organizations including Asian Pacific Islander Coalition – Spokane Chapter, Council on American Islamic Relations – Washington, Spokane Islamic Center, Muslims for Community, Action, and Support, NAACP Spokane, Refugee Connections Spokane, Spokane Chinese American Progressives, and Hispanic Business and Professionals Association as well as labor and social justice organizations.
PJALS staff briefed and trained over 600 people on the initiative using a variety of opportunities and approaches. In July, PJALS organized a voter education canvass. On a 97 degree day, 18 volunteers went to 400 doors and had 114 conversations; 66% of voters said they’d vote NO.
Then, on August 25, Judge McKay ruled that Prop 1 was invalid and improper. The ruling is under appeal, so it is possible that the initiative will re-appear aimed at our 2019 city ballot. The great news is that Judge McKay’s finding that the topic of police profiling policy is not appropriate for an initiative means it is unlikely that Respect WA would be able to start over collecting signatures for a similar measure.
We were strong and ready to fight and we’ve built strong relationships with coalition partners. At our rooftop celebration for the ruling, a leader of the Spokane Chinese Association invited us to be together going forward as “comrades in the journey” – and we will!
THANK YOU to the plaintiffs who were willing to step forward and lead in saying no to anti-immigrant bigotry and racism: Global Neighborhood; Asian Pacific Islander Coalition, Spokane Chapter; Spokane Chinese American Progressives; Spokane Chinese Association; Refugee Connections Spokane; and National Organization for Women, Spokane Chapter. And, THANK YOU to the Center for Justice for great work researching and arguing this legal challenge!
Let’s celebrate this victory and savor how it feels when we come together and win for our values. And then let’s harness this energy and use it to power our next moves!
Wonderful No on Prop 1 volunteers heading out to talk with strangers about racism and politics! — July 29, 2017