Video of Jesse Hagopian addressing the rally for Michael Bennett and Colin Kaepernick
On Sunday, September 17th, before the Seattle Seahawks first home game against the San Francisco ‘49ers, organizers from the NAACP and the Social Equality Educators (SEE) sponsored a rally in support of ex ‘49er Colin Kaeprnick and Seahawk Michael Bennett. The rally was coordinated with a national call to support Kaeprnick and featured Reshaud Bennett, Michael Bennett’s younger brother; Katrina Johnson, Cousin of Charleena Lyles who was killed by Seattle police; Nikkita Oliver, teaching artist, attorney, organizer and former mayoral candidate. Gerald Hankerson, Seattle/King County NAACP president; Jesse Hagopian, teacher, author, and editor for Rethinking Schools; and Dave Zirin, The Nation sports editor and co-author of Michael Bennett’s forthcoming book, “Things That Make White People Uncomfortable.”
Kaepernick and Bennett have been at the forefront of the rebellion for Black lives that has erupted in the NFL. It started last season when Kaepernick made the courageous decision to draw attention to police brutality and oppression by taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. Because of his willingness to speak truth to power, Kaepernick is actively being blackballed from playing in the NFL and no team will sign him.
Seattle Seahawks’ Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion Michael Bennett has been one of the biggest supporters of Kaepernick and one of the most prominent NFL players supporting the movement for Black lives. Bennett sat during the national anthem during the entire preseason, and vowed to continue for the entire season, in an effort to highlight the unjust murder of Black people by police and the rising white supremacy that was on display in Charlottesville, Virginia.
On the morning of August 27th, Michael Bennett experienced police injustice first hand when a Los Vegas police officer put him on the ground and threatened his life. The incident occurred when a reported shooting on the Vegas strip led to many people running for cover, including Bennett. Instead of the police helping Bennett, video and photographic evidence shows that Las Vegas police targeted Bennett, put him on the ground in handcuffs while the primary officer took out a weapon and placed it near the back of his head. According to Bennett, the officer said that if Bennett moved, he would “blow [his] fucking head off.” Bennett was then put in a police car, and after a period of time let go without charges. After threatening his life, the Vegas police decided they would then attempt to assassinate his character by accusing him of lying about the events of that evening. But thankfully people are rising up to support Bennett. Dave Zirin recently published a letter of solidarity for Bennett that was signed by a couple dozen leading athletes, authors, artists, activist, and academics. The signatories included, Angela Davis, Arundhati Roy, Colin Kaepernick, Cornel West, Naomi Klein, Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Opal Tometi (Co-founders, Black Lives Matter), actor Jesse Williams. In addition, Seattle athletes and artists, Megan Rapinoe, Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart, and Macklemore, signed the letter. The September 17th rally for Kaepernick and Bennett swelled to some two hundred protesters who wanted to show their support because of all these two activist athletes have done to give back to their communities—and the people of Seattle have seen Michael’s efforts up close. Bennett supported and publicly endorsed the victorious movement for ethnic studies in the Seattle Public Schools. He supported the “Black Lives Matter at School” day initiative on October 19, 2016, showing up to speak about issues of race and education at the evening rally. Bennett has backed the Freedom School program at Rainer Beach High School, contributing financially and inviting the program to his training camp to speak with them about social issues and education. Bennett commitment to food justice has led him to start a community garden initiative at a Seattle Interagency school and the current youth jail. And Bennett helped organize a powerful solidarity rally with the family of Charleena Lyles to demand accountability for her death at the hands of Seattle police. It is because of Bennett’s unyielding contributions to the struggles for justice that the many protesters stepped into the street and marched to the Seahawks Century Link Field chanting, “When Bennett and Kaep are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!”
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Dear Bellevue School District,
It doesn’t take almost 9 years to do the right thing! Hiring your former Bellevue Asst. Supt. Larry Sera to pose as a FAKE outside RACISM and DISCRIMINATION investigator for his cronies and having him cover up this hatred, racism, and illegal retaliation is not EQUITABLE. He got paid over $120K to lie for the district from 2009-2014 and Dr. Mills even made him Interim HR Director for his fraud on the taxpayers.
I have been exposing this out of control ignorance since I witnessed Nancy Larson screaming at our Native American coworker. Stop pretending that nothing can be done about the illegal Jack and Nancy Show.
I am well aware that Nancy threatened to sue the district if she wasn’t give the facilities supervisor and other positions at BSD 405. She openly bragged abut owing Ryan Vucinovich’s father, Joe (former Athletic Director for Lake Washington Schools and now works for Diamond Club of Seattle Mariners), a favor for helping her get promoted at BSD.
That’s why Ms. Larson demoted 20 year school district employee Brock Dunseath and promoted Ryan to lead with only 6 months of temp experience. Her blatant disregard for school board policies and our state/federal laws is unconscionable.
Do the right thing. I have offered to mediate with BSD 405 this whole time. It’s time for Dr. Duran to finally remove the source of hatred at BSD in the form of 2 illegal retire rehires.
Nancy Larson even got Keith Byrd to lie and say the PUTO slur in Juan’s custodial office for ten years. I am sure that’s why he called me so upset that night, since Nancy had told him the day before that his English was not good enough to mow lawns.
Juan had already taken care of all the landscaping an sports fields for Los Angeles Unified School District for over 16 years and had a CDL license and mechanical engineering degree. Nancy hired another friend of a friend. She gave a favor to Pat Richard’s mother who works for the district and hired Pat into grounds. She chose Pat’s friend over Juan. When will it end?
You can no longer tolerate the illegal bullying by Nancy Larson against workers. It’s gone on way too long. Jeff Tweeten and Ryan Vucinovich were both given special treatment with raises, overtime, lead pay, etc. for illegally undermined collective bargaining agreements for Nancy Larson. If you can’t see the blatant corruption and illegal activities in your own Jack and Nancy departments, you will never learn.
Bellevue Schools and the City of Bellevue are amazing, so why is this tolerated by 2 illegal retire rehires, John/Jack McLeod and Nancy Larson?
Nancy Larson has been attacking minorities for decades. She called her assistant Crystal Aguilar FAT and sent her home in tears on countless occasions. Nancy is a sociopath and she’s been threatening workers for decades. I had the courage to stand up to her and she called my other supervisors and peers to illegally force me out of my jobs in both Bellevue and Issaquah School Districts. The district refuses to turn over public records and they have been obstructing justice for almost a decade now.
I submitted this basic public records request and I’m told the district has no answer until October?
Dear Helen Boyer – Public Records Officer for Bellevue School District,
Thanks for your request for clarification. Hope this makes the public records request easier to produce electronically.
1.Please provide copies of the employment contracts for Nancy Larson and John “Jack” McLeod that cover the 2017-2018 school year.
2. Please provide records that show the year that Nancy Larson and Jack McLeod were hired by Bellevue School District. If there are multiple records that contain this information, please contact me so I can clarify which of the records to produce.
3. Please produce records of when Facilities Supervisor and Facilities Director positions were advertised externally from 2007 through 2017.
4. Please provide records showing the date of contract renewal during 2017 for Nancy Larson and John “Jack” McLeod.
5. Please provide records that show which person or body approved the hiring or firing of Nancy Larson and John “Jack” McLeod.
6. Please provide records that show who wrote the annual review for Kyle McLeod for the years 2007 through 2017. I recognize that much of the content of the annual reviews themselves may be exempt from disclosure, but the name of the person who wrote the review is not exempt.
7. Please provide records that indicate which district employee or body approved any bonuses received, stipends received, travel or entertainment expense reports, petty cash draws, or salary increases for Nancy Larson, Kyle McLeod, and John “Jack” McLeod during the period 2007 through 2017.
8. Please provide records that show who approved the contract renewals for Nancy Larson, Kyle McLeod, and John “Jack” McLeod during the period 2007 through 2017.