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The Garfield Messenger

The student news source of Garfield High School

The Garfield Messenger

The student news source of Garfield High School

The Garfield Messenger

Dawgs Bark!

History of student protests in the Seattle area.

As university protests against U.S. aid to Israel’s invasion of Palestine continue, the history of student protests – particularly in Seattle – can provide crucial context to today’s events. Stretching back to the 1970s, the timeline below illustrates some of the many student-led protests mentioned in past issues of the Messenger and local papers.


With the Vietnam War taking lives every day, students at UW rallied against the expansion of the war into Cambodia, and the Kent State University protestors who were killed. Starting on May 5, six thousand students marched through various streets and on the freeway from UW’s campus to downtown Seattle. In the following weeks, protests continued, including another demonstration on October 15, 1969, where participants held paper flowers to honor those who had died. 


To shed light on South Africa’s apartheid, an unjust system of institutionalized racial segregation, college students in the 1980’s launched nationwide protests to encourage university administrations to disinvest in corporations that contributed to apartheid. Protesters built encampments on their campuses to highlight the conditions of many people living under apartheid. It is suspected that these protests inspired the form of civil disobedience recreated for the Israel Palestine conflict. 


In the week following 9/11, classes were briefly suspended at the Islamic School of Seattle – just a block away from Garfield – after multiple local mosques received violent threats. A mosque in Northgate had xenophobic messages like “Get out of this country” left on their answering machine. However, people in the community soon banded together to show their support by bringing signs, flags, and flowers to the Northgate mosque. At Garfield, teacher Betty Lau facilitated student discussions to help foster communication and understanding.


In the aftermath of 9/11, Garfield High School students celebrated MLK Day in January with a march starting at the school and concluding at the Federal Building downtown with a second rally. Reverend Harriet Walden, the founder of Mothers for Police Accountability, coordinated the rally to call attention to the racial profiling Black people face.


On March 5, 2003, students across the U.S. walked out of class in a protest against the impending war in Iraq. More than 360 schools took part in these Books not Bombs rallies. Locally, in an effort to help ease tensions and facilitate communication, Roosevelt High School held forums through a program called “Time to Talk.” The meetings worked to teach students about the context surrounding the possible war, including topics like Israel’s Position in the Upcoming War and Women and the Veil.


Garfield’s Black Student Union received media coverage for their protests in contribution to the rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement. On October 22, 2014, students organized a march to the Seattle police department to protest police brutality. Later in November, more than 1,000 Garfield students walked out of school in  protest of the non-indictment of police officer Darren Wilson. 


During a Garfield football game against West Seattle in September, 2016, players knelt during the national anthem in protest of racial oppression in the U.S. In the display, Garfield football players joined in a nationwide show of solidarity with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who stopped standing for the anthem in August of that year. To this day, some players still continue this form of resistance.


Following the U.S.’s commitment to send military aid to Israel during the war, universities in Seattle and nationwide saw a spike of pro-Palestine demonstrations reaching intensities reminiscent of past Vietnam War protests. Beginning with Columbia University, masses of students on college campuses have established encampments in solidarity with Gaza. While some administrations have deescalated the protests peacefully, many of the encampments have been dispersed forcefully by police bearing riot gear. Despite many universities’ claims to support student activism, some students have been arrested or face disciplinary charges for their involvement with the movement. Garfield students have also contributed to the pro-Palestine protests, organizing a walkout that took place on October 25, 2023. 

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About the Contributors
Havana Hakala
Havana Hakala, Staff
Havana Hakala is a junior at Garfield High School and starting her second year on the Messenger. As a returning staff member, Hakala is more than prepared to further advance her knowledge of journalism and publishing. Some things Hakala enjoys are reading, embroidery, and most forms of art (but especially graphite). She is excited to receive feedback on her writing from the newspaper audience and editors on the team. 
Unity Jirkovsky-Gual (she/her)
Unity is a 11th grader in her second year on The Messenger! She likes theater, reading, autumn and lots and lots of coffee. She doesn't like parallel parking, test taking or birds. She is excited to be able to grow her journalism skills and work on The Messenger.
Violet is a senior at Garfield High School, and this is her first year writing for the Messenger. She swims for Garfield and is involved in Tech Theater and Model UN. In her free time, she enjoys drawing people who don’t exist, thinking about the Iraq War, and watching semi-pretentious movies.

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