In an August blog entry, I wrote of the arrest, jailing and charges against William Wingate, a 20 year Air Force veteran and retired Seattle Metro Bus Driver. So I will not rewrite the story.
We made a significant difference for this man, by bringing into play a different strategy than is usually applied in Seattle. No demonstrations, no attorneys, no major media attention. My reason for suggesting no media, is difficult to explain in an online blog. But what I can say is that the strategy included getting white women to help me address this incident steeped in racial bias. Because it was a white female officer creating the incident, white women needed to help correct it and they did. White women struggled to get women on the police force, and this being Seattle, the majority of women who benefitted are white. So White women need to hold their sisters accountable. Women can and must make the equality difference. It means sharing and applying their privilege to change society. Once white women decide that their children will not receive an unequal share of what America has to offer justice will appear almost instantly.
I followed my gut and knew that if just African Americans set out to have the charges against Mr. Wingate dismissed, we would not get far. I shared my determination with several white women. My thinking traveled to the fact that African American women "helped" white women for centuries. The issues that mount up for African American women and their families are stressful and often overwhelming. So why not ask White women to help African American women in the ways that we helped them? That means help in the ways that we say we need the help, not based on the help they think Black women need.
There are both male and female European Americans who want to help African Americans. But they do not know where and when to enter, and when they do enter, too often they lack the tolerance neede to come to a sustained positive outcome. Among the women willing to help on this and helped to strategize, we determined that two of them would accompany me to the various negotiations with:
East Precinct meeting with Capt. Pierre Davis and Asst. Chief Nick Metz
Seattle City Council Member Bruce Harrell
City Attorney Pete Holmes
Chief Kathy O'Toole and Asst. Chief Carmen Best
We found that every part of the Criminal Justice System failed to be just to Mr. Wingate. Every system failed to stop this injustice. Each woman in her own way, did something to make a difference.