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Seattle NAACP remembers those killed by police, calls for change

The Seattle King County NAACP honored the lives of people killed by police in Washington and called for further police reform.

SEATTLE — The Seattle King County NAACP hosted an event Saturday to honor the lives of people killed by the police and to call for lasting change. They filled Martin Luther King Jr. Park with signs that had the names of people from Washington and across the country who had died.

“Today we come to spread this weight that is too great a weight to be born on the shoulders of one family,” Rev. Dr. Leslie Braxton told the crowd.

It was a time for remembrance and reflection and a chance to talk about the legacy they're trying to carve from the losses.

“The 'say their names' movement is about that memory so the NAACP linking the memory of those we lost to the change and the active role we're taking to make change,” State Representative Kirsten Harris-Talley said.

Harris-Talley spoke about the work underway at the state level to bring that change and the work they would like to see going forward. 

The Governor recently signed into law several criminal justice reforms.  

“I think the tactics bill is a huge move in the right direction as we think about what it is to have safety in policing,” Rep. Harris-Talley said.  

Organizers say they need broad community support for change and with the pandemic restrictions easing, they worry people will forget about their cause. 

“We have the same level of intensity that we had when everybody was hitting the streets and the consciousness, this is to bring it in your consciousness because if you don't remember then we're doomed to repeat it,”  NAACP President Carolyn Riley-Payne explained.

Speakers at the rally said while there has been some progress, there's still a long way to go, especially when you see a landscape with so many names and so many others calling for justice.