Beloved Friends and Partners:
In the midst of this grinding crisis, while working incredibly hard to keep our communities sheltered and safe, WHEEL/Women in Black received the dreaded April list of presumed-homeless deaths from the King County Medical Examiners. It was grim and heartbreaking. Some information on the new list was absent or redacted, but we do know at least 10 more homeless women and men died outside, in public, or by violence in April alone, that a baby girl was presumed homeless and died in hospital in April, and that at least one presumed-homeless man died in hospital of COVID-19 pneumonia.
We also know that we cannot go any longer without making our grief and anger visible, without remembering these beloved people by name, and without making our Urgent Calls to Action very public.
Therefore, WHEEL/Women in Black WILL stand an hour-long, silent, socially-distanced public vigil from noon to 1 PM next Wednesday, May 13th. This time we will do so on the steps of Seattle City Hall, at 4th/James.
At least SEVENTEEN homeless people died outside, in public, or by violence during the COVID-era months of March and April. We will be grieving and remembering them ALL by name at our May 13th vigil. They are:
**Brett Wheeler, 33, died by suicide in a motel on Aurora on 2/7.
**Travis Carson, 32, died at 1000 4th N, Kent on 3/1; cause pending.
**Troy Crocker, 31, died of ulcer/IV drug use at Rainier Ave S/S Weller on 3/1.
**Ryan Fink, 47, died of drug intoxication at Oakesdale SW/SW 27th in Renton on 3/21.
**Kenneth McMillan, 61, died at a Kirkland Safeway on 3/28; cause pending.
**Edgar Deleon, 40, died at 84th/Aurora N on 4/2; cause pending.
**Richard Hamilton, 30, stabbed to death in Kent on 4/6; suspect in custody.
**Gilford Smith, 61, died by OD at 400 bl 29th/S Jackson on 4/7.
**Daniel Long, 39, shot to death at 800 bl S Jackson on 4/10; suspect in custody.
**Malinda Sue Bordeaux, 34, died by OD at 1402 3rd Avenue on 4/13.
**Elissa Lloyd, 34, run over by a tractor-trailer and killed at 423 S Horton on 4/16.
**Thomas Weaver, 55, died by suicide at 6318 NE 64th on 4/18.
**Mohamed Slassi, 40, died by OD at 55th/the Ave on 4/18.
**Paul Salaiz, 54, found in undisclosed location, died at Swedish on 4/24; unknown cause.
**Isaiah Robison, 22, died by suicide at 3400 Troll Ave N on 4/24.
**Kenneth Vinson, 41, died of natural causes at/near the Broadway QFC on 4/24.
**Teddy Werre, 69, a woman who died of hypothermia at Harborview (found at/on Yesler) on 4/29.
The vigil will be dedicated to Baby Girl V, who was on the presumed-homeless list and died in hospital in April, Eric Jones, who died in hospital in April with COVID-pneumonia as tertiary cause, Jim and Dennis who were housed and beloved by our dear friends at Operation Nightwatch and died of COVID, and all other formerly homeless people (perhaps five) who’ve died of the virus. And, of course, all whose deaths are not yet known, and all who are struggling to stay safe today.
The number of known outdoor/public/violent homeless deaths in 2020 now stands at 30 (of 46 names on the Medical Examiners List). The outlook for the future for homeless people and programs here is bleak: Many organizations and programs like ours are struggling to keep our communities together and safe today, without much institutional support or communal planning. Because almost no new shelters have been created, just “spacing” shelters, thousands of homeless people are living and dying on our streets. And, inhumane sweeps of pop-up camps continue even in this crisis. JOIN US IN OUR GRIEF, ANGER AND ACTION.
HERE ARE TWO WAYS TO HELP:
PLEASE IMMEDIATELY REACH OUT TO MAYOR DURKAN AND COUNTY EXECUTIVE CONSTANTINE TO HELP WHEEL AND HOMELESS WOMEN GET THE IMMEDIATE SHELTER SUPPORT FOR WOMEN THAT’S NEEDED, AND COMMUNAL, RESPECTFUL PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE. Original WHEEL Call to Action here: https://www.facebook.com/wheelforwomen/ Jenny Durkan: (206) 684-4000 firstname.lastname@example.org. Dow Constantine: email@example.com 206-263-9600
ALSO, PLEASE JOIN US AND OUR HOUSING FOR ALL COALITION PARTNERS/REAL CHANGE FROM 1-2 PM NEXT TUESDAY, MAY 12th, AT A SILENT, SOCIALLY DISTANCED DEMONSTRATION AT BALLARD COMMONS (5701 22nd NW) PROTESTING RECENT, SHOCKING, INHUMANE BALLARD COMMONS SWEEPS. Please wear a mask and gloves at this demonstration, and keep six feet social distance at all times. The Call to Action here will be to Stop the Sweeps (full stop), permanently remove Seattle Police presence from Navigation Teams, and demand Mayor Durkan explain why this Ballard Commons sweep occurred against CDC recommendations during the pandemic.
MORE SPECIFIC CALLS TO ACTION WILL BE MADE AT OUR MAY 13th Women in Black Vigil. If you plan to join our vigil, please wear black clothing if you’re able to. Please wear a mask and gloves (we have some black gloves to share). Please keep at least six feet separation at all times. There will be no after-vigil gathering.
Thanks so much for your solidarity and support! We couldn’t survive without it.
WHEEL/Women in Black
Homeless Remembrance Project on Facebook