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Council Member Ushka on Community Concerns

A Statement From District 4 Council Member Catherine Ushka in Response to Recent Community Concerns


September 4, 2020



Tanisha Jumper, Media and Communications, tjumper@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5152
Maria Lee, Media and Communications, maria.lee@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-2054


A Statement From District 4 Council Member Catherine Ushka
in Response to Recent Community Concerns

TACOMA, Wash. -- I am a parent, a former Tacoma Public Schools board member, a current Tacoma City Council Member serving District 4, and a proud Eastside resident for more than 20 years. Like my friends, colleagues and many others across this community, I stand in firm opposition to the violence and indignities suffered by our most vulnerable populations, including women and persons of color. I also stand against the systems of oppression perpetuated for generations against our Black and Brown communities. 

Today, I am concerned by reports from residents across Tacoma that a Tacoma Public Schools teacher at First Creek Middle School in District 4 is reportedly affiliated with the Proud Boys, an organization identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. This individual has also publicly described himself as "a proud Western chauvinist who refuses to apologize for creating the modern world". 

In my vision for the modern world, our youth deserve every opportunity for success. In my vision for the modern world, representation matters.  

I believe schools can and should be restorative, enriching and culturally responsive spaces for our youth that offer inclusive curriculums reflecting the diversity of our great city and the world around us. In today's global economy, with its infinite challenges and possibilities, I want our youth to be ready.

At a minimum, I believe our youth should feel emotionally and physically safe at school with educators who aren’t simply not racist, but decidedly anti-racist. 

It is time and we have much work ahead.

I encourage you to join me as we come together to take a hard look at who we are and who we want to be as a city. As we work within the boundaries of the First Amendment, these conversations will be uncomfortable but we owe it to our youth to approach these conversations with courage and positive intent. As we strive to uplift and support our youth, and honor their lived experiences, ideas matter. Words matter. And I hope that, as we work with one another, the ideas and words that promote healing and unity prevail. 

In June 2020, the Tacoma City Council passed Resolution 40622. This resolution formally acknowledges that the City of Tacoma’s existing systems have not adequately served the needs of everyone in our community and, in particular, have not adequately served the needs of Black community members and other community members of color. 

For more information on what the City of Tacoma is doing to achieve comprehensive change, and updates on how you can get involved, please visit cityoftacoma.org/transform.