Federal Way mayor presents Black Lives Matter proclamation, call to action

Proclamation urges people to “exercise their patriotic responsibility to strive to challenge racism until it is no more.”

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the mayor of Federal Way presented a proclamation titled “Black Lives Matter — A Call to Action” on Jan. 18.

The Federal Way City Council engaged in conversations in June 2020 about publicly supporting Black Lives Matter, which resulted in a statement and social media post expressing their stance.

Presenting the proclamation at the Jan. 19 city council meeting, Mayor Jim Ferrell said he was asked to issue a statement at a previous Black and African American quarterly community meeting.

“After a great deal of thought on the matter, I did decide to do it,” Ferrell said, noting that usually proclamations are a joint effort between the council members and the mayor.

The proclamation states “the City of Federal Way, Washington, firmly asserts that Black Lives Matter and always have,” and “firmly denounces racist acts of oppression, including systemic racism, which has targeted Black and Indigenous People of Color.”

In addition, the proclamation urges all who read the proclamation to “exercise their patriotic responsibility to strive to challenge racism until it is no more.”

With the proclamation, city officials commit to an actionable support by developing equitable policies and practices to dismantle systemic racism and prejudices in the City of Federal Way; protecting and serving without discrimination; and creating direct service programs to address the inequalities impacting specific populations to empower communities to tackle these systemic barriers.

During public comment, resident Cynthia Ricks, who also moderated the second Black and African American community meeting, said supporting Black Lives Matter is not a zero-sum game.

To Federal Way residents and fellow community members, Ricks said “supporting Black Lives Matter does not mean you’re negating anything else … this is about humanity.”

Councilmember Leandra Craft reiterated Ricks’ comments later in the meeting, adding “just because we’re saying that Black Lives Matter, doesn’t mean that we’re saying that everybody else’s lives don’t matter — it just is equally … Black Lives Matter just as much as everyone else’s.”

Councilmember Lydia Assefa-Dawson thanked the mayor for his proclamation, and said “it’s never too late to acknowledge that Black Lives Matter.”