Dear Friends of WHEEL/Women in Black:Yesterday we joined together in community with more than a dozen friends and family members of two of the people for whom we stood vigil, Shaunae Lahman and “Punk Rock” Nate Etling. Their presence was a blessing to us. Our grief was profound, but shared. We knew as we stood vigil, from the updated Y-T-D Medical Examiners list of presumed-homeless deaths (through February), that at least TEN more homeless women and men have died outside or by violence already this year.
So, we must stand, again. Next Wednesday, March 13th our vigil will be from noon to 1 PM outside the Seattle Justice Center (5th/Cherry), and will honor and remember:
**James Fields, 47, died in an outbuilding in Tukwila on 1/30; cause pending.
**Kevin Futie, 33, died by suicide at a Jack in the Box in Seatac on 2/1.
**Wayne Howard, 75, died by suicide at Me Kwa Mooks Park on 2/1.
**Daniel Rios-Thomas, 27, died in the 600 block Seneca St on 2/1; cause pending.
**Reece Manderson, 33, found at 6th/Cherry and died at Harborview on 2/2; cause pending.
**Sarah Troyer-Hampton, 26, died at Bhy Kracke Park on 2/10; cause pending.
**Tekea Solomon, 35, died at 2100 2nd Ave Parking Garage on 2/12; cause pending.
**Zachary Johannes, 28, died in an alley in Ravenna on 2/12; cause pending.
**Justin Mayfield, 35, died near the NE Queen Anne Greenbelt on 2/13; cause pending.
**David Browning, 50; found in an unknown location; died at NW Hospital on 2/15; cause pending.
WITH THIS VIGIL, WOMEN IN BLACK WILL HAVE STOOD FOR 1,006 HOMELESS WOMEN, MEN AND CHILDREN WHO DIED OUTSIDE OR BY VIOLENCE IN KING COUNTY SINCE OUR VIGIL’S FOUNDING IN 2000.
Last year, 120 homeless people died outside or by violence in King County (of 193 homeless deaths total). Already in 2019 at least 28 have died outside or by violence (of 38 known homeless deaths), shattering last year’s all-time record. Without shelter, people die.
For this reason alone (although there are hundreds of reasons), we renew our request for support for the WHEEL low-barrier Women’s Shelter and the SHARE/WHEEL self-managed Shelter Network, which remain threatened with de-funding mid-year. Please continue to reach out to Mayor Durkan AND ALSO Seattle City Councilmembers. Ask them to offer WHEEL and SHARE a full-year contract, and to negotiate in good faith through the year, as partners and collaborators, on any possible improvements to SHARE & WHEEL shelters.