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Mayor Durkan: Lead…or get out of the way.

I don’t recognize the city I’ve lived in for 40 years. City Hall has been overrun by hundreds, demanding our mayor be ousted. Capitol Hill has been transformed into a no-police “autonomous zone.” Graffiti has defaced my beloved town’s buildings, its sidewalks, and shops.

What has happened to the city on whose Supersonics team I played for three years? Is this the same city where I operated my physical therapy clinics for 30 years? Can this be the Seattle in which I ran for Mayor in 2009, and on whose City Council I campaigned, in 2019?

As a 7-foot 2-inch black man, I’ve spent my entire life confronting systemic racism. And I’ve surmounted adversities as harsh as any person – of any color – could face. (I’ve undergone four major surgeries, bankruptcy, and foreclosure that, this summer, will force me from my home after 38 years.)

But who is confronting Seattle’s adversities? Why do our Mayor and police chief continue to cede leadership, position and power, to the “vocal minority?” Who is speaking out for Seattle’s majority? Where’s the acknowledgement of the preponderance of citizens who, like myself, have been actively involved in developing our business community, political community, sporting community, and neighborhood communities for decades? All to be defaced in the name of what?

Yes, Black lives matter. As do White and Brown and Yellow and Red and LGBTQ lives.

Which is why I wear an “All Lives Matter” T-shirt. But what matters even more to me is to see my city run for the benefit of its entire population. To see its streets open, its stores unlocked, its police stations functioning.

Encourage the protestors to gather in a park. Open the streets. Remove the boards from windows. Put the police back in their precinct. Lead this great city, or get out of the way.

                                                                                                            James Donaldson

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