Wyking Garrett vs. Domestic Neo-Colonialism in “Liberal” Seattle

He dared to "think globally, act locally", so the city (and their knee-grow stooges) moved against him.

But this story didn't begin with Wyking Garrett's courageous act of March, 2008.

The efforts to establish an African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center (AAHM&CC) in Seattle began in 1969, and came to the forefront in 1981 when Omari Tahir-Garrett and Isaiah Edwards led a community based coalition in opposing the construction of a police precinct in the heart of Seattle's historically Black Central Distict, proposing a positive cultural institution instead.

After successfully blocking the construction of the police precinct, the community turned its attention to the recently closed Colman school as the future home of the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center. When the mayor began to back-pedal on his commitment to developing the museum, a dedicated few took decisive action.

On Nov. 23, 1985 the longest recorded act of civil disobedience in U.S. history began when Omari Tahir, Earl Debnam, and a small group of concerned community members occupied the abandoned Colman Elementary School, demanding that the building be developed into the first African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center in Seattle, WA.

Unlike a typical museum which reflects back on the past accomplishments and defeats of a people, this one was to focus also on future generations of African people, providing everything from after-school homework help for the youth, to career-based education and employment opportunities for African teens and adults. It would also serve as a 'dual power' institution, so the African community in Seattle could no longer be under the thumb of the Democrats and their functionaries in city government.

At last, an institution that was truly reflective of the community which it serves, as opposed to a community institution in name only that existed only to line the bank accounts of a criminal clique of neo-colonial puppets (aka "black faces in high places", "poverty pimps", "comprador bougeoisie").

In 1994, at the direction of African American Mayor Norm Rice, several of Mayor Rice’s Boule (Sigma Pi Phi) fraternity brothers became involved with the project including Bob Flowers who became the Chairman of the board.

In 1997, the School Board voted to sell the building to the AAHMCC for $329,000. After being questioned by board members regarding the management of museum funds, Flowers began subverting the progress of the organization. He refused to make the down payment on the building even after the city of Seattle provided additional funds to do so. He would go on to later attempt to orchestrate the removal of founding board members.

At the time Mr. Flowers was also a board member of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle Board of Directors, who would eventually seek a development project of their own at the Colman school.

In 2000, after prolonged negotiations with the School District, the AAHMCC presented the check for $50,000 dollars for the down payment on Colman school.

The check was returned to the AAHMCC. Soon after, the Urban League presents a proposal for a condominium based real estate development. The City council would then take $400,000 earmarked for the AAHMCC and give it to the Urban League for a feasibility study.

The Urban League reportedly purchased the building for $804,000 in 2003 and has been collecting money in the name of the museum. In 2005, Carver Gayton, former FBI agent and fraternity brother of Norm Rice and Bob Flowers, was appointed Executive Director at an inflated salary of $100,000 per year.

On March 8, 2007, the grand opening of Urban League Village/Northwest African American Museum occured, featuring among other local dignitaries Mayor Greg Nickels, Governor Christine Gregoire, and King County Councilman Larry Gossett. A rally to return community control of the African American Heritage Museum was called by the grassroots leadership of the AAHM&CC.

Wyking Garrett, the son of museum project co-founder Omari Tahir-Garrett, took to the podium and began denouncing the event as a "scam" and a "disgrace", highlighting the under-handed politics of neo-colonial criminality surrounding it. He was promptly arrested and charged with criminal trespass, obstruction, assaulting a police officer, and resisting arrest.

All the charges were dropped, except the resisting arrest charge, which went to trial on October 27 in Seattle Municipal Court.

The result? A hung jury, and therefore a mistrial; with four jurors voting "NOT GUILTY" and two voting "GUILTY".

Not satified with the defeat, the city of Seattle has decided to retry Garrett. The next court date is Monday, Nov. 23rd at 2pm. 600 5th Ave, Courtroom #1102. Spread the word, and if you're in Seattle, be there!

Check out the video, featuring hip-hop artists Amanda Diva and dead prez about the struggle against neo-colonialism in Seattle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7f3vQp60LrI

For more on the history of this on-going struggle, go to: http://www.aahmcc.org/


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