Dear Friends and Neighbors,
In light of some disturbing, recent trends, we feel compelled to speak out. We have seen a rise in hate crimes in the last few months against members of immigrant, LGBTQ, and Muslim communities. Harassment of women and people of color has been reported at higher rates locally and nationwide. We’ve seen increased hateful, divisive dialogue in the media, online, in our schools and at public gatherings. From the neighbors we serve, to our volunteers and supporters, to our own friends and families, fear for safety of self and others has become far too common.
Additionally, we are seeing signs at the federal level that social safety net programs and protections may be scaled back or terminated; loss of health insurance, accelerated deportations of immigrant families, and cuts to social benefits critical to the safety and well-being of local families may be on the horizon. These actions threaten to hurt members of our community, including those that we support as they recover from crisis or hardship.
We, at the West Seattle Helpline, are dedicated to serving all of our neighbors and to help foster a caring and cohesive community. This letter affirms our commitment to do the following in solidarity with our underserved neighbors:
- Continue to offer services to every member of our community regardless of race, age, sex, gender identity, immigration status, religion, and sexual orientation.
- Continue participation in the Safe Place Program (providing safe haven from and reporting anti-LGBTQ hate crimes) and extend our promise to be a safe space for anyone experiencing hate-based harassment or threatening behavior.
- Work with local community leaders in underserved communities to continue to improve the cultural and language accessibility of our services.
- Refuse to voluntarily provide federal immigration officials data that could put our clients at risk of deportation (in alignment with Seattle’s status as a Sanctuary City).
- Continue to advocate at the local and state level for policies and resources to support low-income, marginalized community members and protect them from harm.
We want West Seattle to continue to be an inclusive, caring, and safe place for all our neighbors. We look forward to working with local leaders, partner organizations, elected officials, and all who share our vision of an inclusive, safe, and welcoming community.
Your Friends at the West Seattle Helpline