Summer of rallies, marches sparks multiple approaches toward social justice in Whatcom

August 24, 2021
Ella Banken

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.

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Police, mental health workers face challenge, confusion with new use-of-force law

August 20, 2021
Matt Benoit

House Bill 1310 established new rules about use of force by police when it took effect in Washington last month, and law enforcement and social service agencies continue to grapple with confusion related to challenges to the new law.

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Community Voices / San Juan County to vote on climate, environment, equity, justice amendments to county charter

August 12, 2021
Kevin Ranker

Priority for climate and environment; justice, equity and inclusion; and an emphasis on citizen engagement are driving proposals the San Juan County Charter Review Commission has advanced for the November ballot. The commission is continuing its work and plans to submit additional propositions for the 2022 ballot.

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photo: Teya Heidenreich © 2021

Local Juneteenth event celebrates diversity, freedom, challenge

June 21, 2021
Teya Heidenreich

Black Lives Matter signs waved over the Maritime Heritage Park amphitheater and booths lined the concrete walkway on Saturday, June 19 — the fourth annual Juneteenth celebration in Bellingham.

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Local MLK Day events set the stage for new year of racial justice action

January 15, 2021
Stella Harvey

A combination of potent social and political turmoil made many people eager to close the book on 2020 and emerge into a fresh year.

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Laws banning private armies go unenforced in Washington

November 3, 2020
Katie Hayes / InvestigateWest

Paramilitary organizations are illegal in Washington and many other states. But laws meant to stop the formation of ad hoc armies are archaic and vague, so much so that police and prosecutors who have recently had the opportunity to use them describe them as unenforceable.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2020

Local law enforcement complaint procedures under scrutiny amid new calls for accountability

August 24, 2020
Stella Harvey

Local Black Lives Matter protests are calling for reduction of police budgets and re-examination of how police are held accountable to the communities they are sworn to serve.

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photo: Mike Sato © 2020

‘Defund the police’ movement drives Whatcom racial justice discussions

August 14, 2020
Alex Meacham

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.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2020

Solidarity rally, Cornwall landfill, Cherry Point occupy local officials during the week ending June 12

June 11, 2020
Mike Sato

City officials praised organizers and participants of Bellingham’s Peaceful Solidarity Rally on June 6 at Maritime Heritage Park, in one of several local government meetings last week.

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