The ‘noose’ incident: Time to take action against racism | Guest View

By Alicia Crank | Nov 13, 2017
Alicia Crank

Last Monday evening, Nov. 6, I was headed to the City Council meeting to watch the Sister City Commission presentation, a commission I sat on when I first moved to Edmonds. As I shared that I was heading to the meeting, a couple of concerned citizens asked if I was going to talk about the “noose.”

I had no idea what they were talking about, but was quickly updated on the few details they knew. Once I arrived to the meeting, several city employees on hand briefed me on the incident. As I shared my thoughts during public comments, I noticed a crack in my voice and a slight shaking of my hands.

As I left the meeting and headed to my car, I stopped in the darkness. It was in that moment that I identified what I was feeling: a little less safe and a little less secure.

Sadly, this is not the first time in recent history that racism has reared its head in Edmonds. From the (at least) two graffiti incidents at our elementary schools to the two high school students who threatened to “lynch” an African American student at Edmonds-Woodway, there are times where residents who are people of color do not feel safe.

I have had the “n-word” screamed at me on more than one occasion when campaigning for office. The noose is an escalation of this racist behavior.

There are, and will be, well-meaning people who will downplay the incident as a tasteless joke or prank. It is neither of those things. Do not water down or otherwise dismiss these actions, especially if you do not have a connection or shared experience, culturally or otherwise, to what this means.

There must be accountability and there must be consequences, despite whatever the initial intent may have been.

In working for an organization, the YWCA, whose mission is to empower women and eliminate racism, I can’t help but wonder what needs to happen to keep us from moving backwards. After decades of sexual assault and violence going unreported or unacknowledged, who knew that a hashtag would empower women – and men – to speak up and speak out against those in power.

We have seen the power of #metoo, and I wonder could something so simple work as fiercely again in the name of calling out racism and intolerance. My point is that it doesn’t take a lot to make change, and it is dangerous to dismiss and do absolutely nothing.

To the African-American employees at the construction site: I encourage you to come forward and press charges, because you will be supported. To the construction company: I encourage you to take action and dismiss the employee(s) who orchestrated this.

To the city of Edmonds: I implore you to take the necessary actions to show that racism and intolerance has no place here.

Racist language and actions happens in Edmonds. #ItHappens in our schools. #Ithappens in our workplaces. #Ithappens in restaurants. We can do something about this, individually and collectively. #Ithappens by having real conversations about it. #Ithappens by acknowledging it in the first place. #Ithappens by taking a vocal and united front against it.

It can happen.

Alicia Crank serves on the boards of the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, Edmonds Senior Center and on the city of Edmonds Planning Board. She also works in corporate relations for YWCA in Seattle and in Snohomish and King counties.



Comments (1)
Posted by: Matthew Richardson | Nov 15, 2017 16:43

"I encourage you to take action and dismiss the employee(s) who orchestrated this."  You don't know that an employee did this. It could have been a trespasser or a hoax by the same people who found it (#ItHappens).  Didn't Lena Dunham get into trouble for faking #MeToo?  It could have been someone not even affiliated with the job site.  It could have been someone bored who also happened to be ignorant, not someone sinister.  It could have been systemic racism, who knows.  Forgoing Due Process is dangerous.  Members of the City Council said they were even going to pull contracts with companies who this happens to before any actionable facts were known, encouraged people to go to the police and to the FBI.  The company had to fire people, such as the job foreman, just to show they were repentant.  You said "That's a good start" to hearing that the foreman was fired.  If the foreman is innocent, that's scapegoating in the wake of a witch hunt - the irony that this is over a noose.  We live in a great society.  We're not racist until we prove otherwise.  Trust people to do the right thing.  Don't blow up and underscore the actions of the lowest of society.

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