Tacoma city council meeting disrupted for Palestine!
Tacoma, WA – A group of about 30 people disrupted the Tacoma city council meeting Tuesday, February 6, demanding the city issue a statement of support to the Palestinian people and an end to U.S. aid to Israel.
The crowd gathered outside the Tacoma Municipal Building as the council meeting was beginning inside. Demonstrators chanted “Gaza Gaza you will rise, Palestine will never die!” and “Israel bombs, USA pays, How many kids were killed today?” while informational fliers were handed out. The fliers highlighted how over $300 billion in U.S. aid has been sent to Israel since 1948, and that money has been used to kill hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Of those killed in these attacks, 40% were children.
Demonstrator Cosmo Cali described the importance of this fight, saying “These are people's lives. These people have dreams. These people have children. These people have fears, and they are human, they have blood in their bodies, they are living breathing beings who have come here to exist not to be murdered and destroyed.”
Amira White, another demonstrator, pointed out that the city has “been silent about a lot of things. And honestly, it’s all about the power of the community at this point to continue to speak up and raise awareness.”
The crowd then moved into the council meeting. They marched to the front of the meeting, and in a call-and-response style chant made their demands to the crowded room. Mayor Victoria Woodards called a recess, and the majority of council members left the chambers – except the newly elected city council member Jamika Scott. She stayed to hear out the community's demands for a statement of support to Palestine. “Stop bombing Gaza” echoed through the municipal building as the demonstrators then marched back outside.
Once outside, community members rallied and gave speeches, many of which discussed other upcoming actions in Tacoma. This disruption was part of a week of action called by U.S. Palestinian Community Network, Students for a Democratic Society, and National Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression. As part of this, there were several more events planned in Tacoma and Seattle including a banner drop and a road blockade later that week.
White also linked the genocide in Gaza to other struggles for liberation around the globe, stating, “It's happening here in the United States, it's happening in the Congo, Sudan, Palestine. It’s happening everywhere. And that’s what this country was based on in the first place – genocide and stealing land.”
The connection between the genocide of the indigenous people in the U.S. and Palestine was a common theme. Apo Skye Cyr described their feelings, saying “I feel angry, and ashamed of this country. As an indigenous person I am furious, frankly, that this country was stolen from my ancestors and abused to the point where now it’s happening again.” They described the connection between Israel and the U.S., “The Israeli people really want to ‘be indigenous’- they want to pretend they’re the original people of the land. But if they did care about the land they wouldn’t be destroying olive trees that were hundreds of years old. And like the same thing happened here, colonizers wanted to be from this land but if they really loved it they wouldn’t have slaughtered the bison. They wouldn't have cut the trees. They wouldn’t have destroyed all of our food systems that we had along walking trails. They wouldn’t have destroyed all the knowledge that let us live in harmony with the land. If they really were from here and really cared they wouldn’t have fucked it up.”
As the sun set, the crowd began to disperse, some even preparing for future Palestine actions by borrowing megaphones, walkie talkies, and other equipment. At time of writing, the city of Tacoma has not responded to the community’s demands. Many people do not find this surprising.
“I do say fuck Israel.” Cyr went on to say, “Colonization is the same everywhere. It relies on the same foundation of abuse of power. It’s just another instance of it that needs to be put down.”