Summer of rallies, marches sparks multiple approaches toward social justice in Whatcom
Calls from the streets of Whatcom County last year for social justice have inspired new groups to form and older ones to revitalize, as each takes its own approach to creating a more equitable community.
Economy, environment, social justice, COVID recovery, housing: legislators anticipate the 2021 session
Salish Current asked 40th and 42nd District legislators a few questions about how they see the legislative session that convenes on Monday, Jan. 11; their answers follow.
Continuing case backlog slows wheels of justice for Whatcom public defenders — and their clients
Public defenders report having hard conversations about what they see as “completely unfair” options with in-custody clients, as the pandemic-driven halt to jury trials keeps people who are denied or unable to afford bail incarcerated and unsure of when their days in court will arrive.
Local courts work to catch up on COVID-backlog delays in delivering justice
Courts in Whatcom County are trying to regain the flow of delivering justice that was in play prior to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown — and the recovery is proceeding differently at each level of the court system.
Local MLK Day events set the stage for new year of racial justice action
A combination of potent social and political turmoil made many people eager to close the book on 2020 and emerge into a fresh year.
‘Defund the police’ movement drives Whatcom racial justice discussions
Local activists are advocating for a 50% reduction in the Bellingham Police Department budget, even as BPD says it could use more resources for meeting the calls it routinely answers now — including a large number related to behavioral health and social welfare. While reformers would like to see change soon, community-wide conversations are just beginning, and the eventual direction and pace of change are as yet unknown.
Justice delayed by COVID creates hardships, weakens protections
From local courts to federal ones, stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines have had a significant effect on the wheels of justice across the United States.
2021: A look back at some stories from the first full year of Salish Current
2021 was a year like no other, with themes such as public health vis-à-vis COVID-19 and opioid addiction; social justice in the courts, the arts, housing and policing; and climate change and natural resources including water rights management. Salish Current offers a look back via articles published during the nonprofit newsroom’s first full year.
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Search for new police chief surfaces questions about transparency and the public’s role
As the City of Bellingham, city council and the newly formed Racial Equity Commission seek to address systemic racism in and out of policing, some community members looking to engage in the selection process for a new police chief in good faith have raised questions about the city’s commitment to transparency.
Books under scrutiny: censorship and cancel culture in a changing society
In a time of massive reevaluation of once widely accepted tropes, celebrities have been called out for past insensitivities and much worse, schools renamed and statues toppled. But what does it mean when books are brought into the discussion?
Community Voices / Clyde Ford on speaking up and raising eyebrows
Change happens when you speak up, and speak out. Drawing the attention of politicians and ordinary citizens to the need for change often helps bring it about … to shine light on the work that remains to be done in this great state, particularly with regard to racial equity and social justice.
Community Voices / Democracy in America
We live in tumultuous times. Last weekend Salish Current asked people of various political persuasions to write about the state of our country’s democracy in advance of the inauguration.
Bellingham police budget tweaked for near future; equity advocates continue push for more
In Bellingham, some local racial justice advocacy groups transitioned their demands from over the summer to budget season, looking for tangible proof that their representatives heard their calls for change over the last six months.
In-person comment is out, for now: local governments adapt to life under COVID
City and county councils and commissions across Washington state are finding new ways to conduct their public meetings since Gov. Jay Inslee issued the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order March 23, requiring local governing bodies to temporarily halt their in-person meetings.