Like most Seattleites, the November election marked a point in which I began to see changes of which I had never seen in a group of people that I spend a great deal of time with: North Seattle Affluent Liberal Adults. I’ve probably spent hundreds of accumulated hours over my life sitting at some dining room table with six or so of these North Seattle Affluent Liberal Adults, trying to pay attention as they discuss politics, argue the same point, and not-so-subtly shade each other for “not doing enough” to heal our country or whatever issue they had been discussing that night. Before the election of Donald Trump, these conversations, while interesting, often felt a bit repetitive and bland, as it seemed the main point was less to discuss current issues and politics and more to do with out-Bush-Administration-fact-ing everyone else at the table. Now however, the vibe among my parents and their peers is different. These discussions are more urgent, more emotionally charged. It is clear to me that for obvious reasons, North Seattle Affluent Liberal Adults have been pushed out of their comfort zones and into a world where it looks like they might actually have to take legitimate action to make change.
In part, I have actually seen some concrete action from my neighbors. My mother and her friends have attended several protests this year. She also has a list of representatives that she calls almost daily. My neighborhood holds monthly action meetings where mainly middle aged parents discuss what they can do to stop Trump. While these actions are a step in the right direction, I sense an aura of anxiety about not doing enough. If my fellow Seattleites really want to make a profound impact on our community and the world for the better, I suggest supporting Nikkita Oliver for mayor of Seattle.
In a time when the outcome of a national election seems like a global death sentence, the significance and power of local elections is overlooked. The outcomes of local elections can have a much larger impact on the issues that we care about in our communities than national politics. Yes, Trump is bad, and his administration is causing profound hurt to people all over the world, but we can fight that by electing local leaders who will push us in the right direction.
Nikkita is one of 21 candidates up for mayor this year after current mayor Ed Murray was accused of sexual harassment and announced that he would not vie for another term. Nikkita is running with the Peoples Party of Seattle, an independent party that is grassroots, centered around community, and led by the very people that it serves. Nikkita is a pro-bono lawyer, an activist, poet, artist, educator, and organizer. Her platform is based on making Seattle an equitable city with accountable leadership that supports all people living here. The campaign has a policy of no corporate donations, and relies entirely on the support of individuals.
The main points of Nikkita’s platform include the homelessness crisis, housing affordability, public safety reform, and education. Seattle ranks fourth in the nation for homelessness just below New York, L.A., and Las Vegas. This should be an astounding number considering that Seattle is only the 18th largest city in the country. With a strategy of “Housing First” Nikkita plans to alleviate the crisis by ending the devastating “sweeps” and providing adequate and permanent shelter, as well as navigation centers where people who are homeless can do everything from storing their belonging to taking a shower. By taking inspiration from models used in San Francisco and Houston, Nikkita will attack one of our city’s most seemingly chronic issues at the root.
The housing crisis is heavily tied into homelessness crisis as many Seattleites have been pushed out of their homes by our city’s ever skyrocketing property values. Seattle has been giving a free pass to developers for too long. Developers in Seattle are only required to build 3-6% affordable housing. This is pathetic compared to cities such as New York and San Francisco which require anywhere from 15-30%. Nikkita will raise this number in Seattle to 25%, as well as increasing funding for public housing and firmly backing legislature for rent control.
In the era of Trump, it seems as though many people are going to be left behind, but with the leadership of Nikkita and the Peoples Party, Seattle could be a frontrunner in opposition to this. Nikkita represents many things in the current political climate. As a woman of color in a campaign lead by other women of color, simply by running, Nikkita is challenging the bigotry and hatred of the Trump Administration. By running on a platform of public accountability, community organizing, and working for those who have been marginalized, Nikkita can turn Seattle into a progressive leader in the fight against Trump.
So if you are interested in increasing your positive impact on the world, vote Nikkita Oliver for mayor. The primaries will take place on August 1st, and ballots will be delivered to you in early July. The general election between the two winners from the primary will take place on November 7th. If you have not registered to vote yet, it is crucial that you do soon and take action. If you cannot vote yet, consider volunteering for the campaign or on the Peoples Party Youth Cohort, which are both always looking for more help, especially if it engages more young people in the political process. With this election, Seattle can lead the country in the right direction.
Graphic by: Tiamo Minard