On Monday, representatives of the Four Amigos, including King County Councilmember Larry Gossett, stood beside pastors from some of Seattle’s largest Black churches and former State Representative Velma Veloria, Estela Ortega, Bill Tashima, Rev. Samuel B. McKinney in endorsing McGinn for Mayor. The group of civil rights and social justice leaders highlighted the mayor’s work with the community on police reform, fighting human trafficking and widening the circle of prosperity by reducing income inequality in Seattle.
The Four Amigos, or Gang of Four, are Larry Gossett, Roberto Maestas, Bernie Whitebear and Bob Santos. They were key leaders of the Seattle civil rights movement in the 1960s, founders of the Minority Executive Director’s Coalition, and all went to leadership roles in our city’s diverse communities.
“Mayor McGinn understands that civil and human rights is about having the right to employment, food and housing, childcare, and the right to feel secure in your city, whether you are undocumented or not, without fear of violence,” said King County Councilmember Larry Gossett.“Through McGinn’s first term, he has worked to initiate, continue and fund initiatives that protect those human and civil rights. That’s why I am supporting Mayor McGinn.”
Former State Representative Velma Veloria noted McGinn’s creation of a single gender swim program as an example of the mayor’s commitment to rights for all people and used that work as a contrast to Senator Murray’s record on these issues.
“In 1998, I served in the House of Representatives with then Rep. Ed Murray. At that time the legislature had been presented with Initiative 200 which banned affirmative-action. As an alternative to Initiative 200, Rep.Tokuda introduced a bill which affirmed affirmative action while at the same time prohibiting quotas and the hiring of unqualified applicants. Like almost all of the Democrats, Rep. Murray signed onto the bill. However, in private caucus discussions, Rep. Murray spoke out against Rep.Tokuda’s bill arguing that minorities and women had achieved their civil rights and that this bill was no longer necessary. Representative Murray’s speech to the other house Democrats was a shock to me, since he presented himself to the public as a champion of civil rights,” said Veloria.
“Mayor McGinn is a committed champion of civil rights and human rights for all. His steadfast action in addressing the needs of Muslim women’s access to swim programs is only one example of his commitment. I commend him for providing education and training to city employees on human trafficking, one of the most egregious violations of civil and human rights in the world,” she added.
According to supporters, over the course of his first term in office McGinn has earned the support of civil rights leaders through his actions as opposed to rhetoric.
“In four years, Mayor McGinn has done more to address the historic effects of institutional racism and injustice in our community than any new Mayor — let alone someone who has represented Seattle for 18 years,” said Reverend Samuel McKinney. “There is not a soul in Seattle who does not want all of us to succeed and to share in the bread of life. Mayor McGinn knows this, works with us and leaders across Seattle toward this — and, that’s why I am urging people all across Seattle to vote for Mayor McGinn,”
“This is the first time in my memory that any mayor has gone to talk directly with the Black Prisoners Caucus at Monroe. He is also the only mayor who has worked as hard to show up, meet and work with the Black pastors at some of the largest and most activist Black churches in Seattle,” said Charlie James. “He shows up whenever they call. Mayor McGinn recognizes that as a whole city, we are weaker when some of us are struggling just to make it and be healthy and whole for our families and loved ones. The other guy has had 18 years to show us where he stands on the civil rights issues facing our communities and we just haven’t seen him.”
With just over a month until the general election, McGinn continues to receive support from many in the community who were at the heart of some of the most historic civil rights battles in the area.
“I am honored to have the support of so many leaders from our city’s diverse communities,” said McGinn. “I look forward to continuing to work to fight for the Beloved Community that we all want to see in Seattle.”