The SGS community was thrilled to receive a special visit this week from 37th District Representative Kirsten Harris-Talley. Elected to the state legislature in 2020, Rep. Harris-Talley’s district runs from Beacon Hill down to Renton, including SGS and the Central District. Four 8th grade students from the Black and Multiracial affinity groups introduced Rep. Harris-Talley to the community before she spoke about her background and journey to the State Legislature. Rep. Harris-Talley shared with students that she is the first Black queer woman to serve in the Washington State Legislature. “I never saw people that looked like me in politics when I was growing up,” she said. She credited activism and communities demanding representation with making her path to the legislature possible. In fact, her career is rooted in activism, first in reproductive justice and then expanding through intersectionality to work with climate change activists and abolitionists fighting oppressive incarceration policies.
Rep. Harris-Talley also touched on the history of redlining and discrimination that has defined the Central District in particular, and the community-led initiatives and activism that rose up to combat those persistent institutional barriers. An active participant in the George Floyd protests last summer, she was pleased to report over 125 consecutive days of protest directly led to 12 police accountability bills being passed in the state legislature this past year, an “unheard of” amount.
Students also had the time to ask questions of Rep. Harris-Talley at the end of her visit. One question that came from the 8th grade was on how white people can be effective allies to these movements. “Allyship is only allyship if people ask you for assistance,” said Rep. Harris-Talley. “Find what makes you want to take action, and then find the place where folks are already organizing about it and be in community first. We all make mistakes, but showing up and being open and to be of service is what you need to do to be a good ally.” Thank you to Rep. Harris-Talley for sharing her story, values, and vision for a more equitable future! (Inset: Ms. Lulu with 8th graders Brooklyn, Zamiah, LaJaya, and Rep. Harris-Talley).
Located in the Central District, Seattle Girls' School is an independent school for girls and gender nonconforming students in grades 5-8. Our mission is to inspire and develop courageous leaders who think independently, work collaboratively, learn joyfully, and champion change.