Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General:
“I formed a Civil Rights Unit in the Attorney General’s Office to combat discrimination and fight for fairness and dignity for every Washingtonian. Inspired by former Assistant Attorney General, civil rights attorney, and Seattle City Councilmember Wing Luke, I named my Civil Rights Unit after him. If you have a civil rights complaint, contact the Wing Luke Civil Rights Unit at www.atg.wa.gov/have-civil-rights-complaint.”
Diane Narasaki, Executive Director, ACRS:
“As a young Asian American woman, I realized that previous generations had fought for my rights and if I did not fight to keep and expand them, they could be lost for future generations. The courage, compassion, sacrifices, and hard fought victories of all who advanced the social justice movement inspired me to a life of activism.
As our community grows, we must explode the model minority stereotype by continuing to protest unjust policies and legislation, and inspire the change through demonstrating the power of our numbers and solidarity with others advancing justice, here and around the world.”
Larry Gossett, King County Councilmember:
“It was in Harlem in 1966 as a Vista Volunteer that I heard about Malcolm X. I was first inspired to work for revolutionary change because of the ideas I was exposed to.
When I returned to Seattle, I helped form the University of Washington Black Student Union.
Together with the Black Panther Party, we worked on various community issues. At the time, two Black girls were kicked out of Franklin High School and were told to make their hair more ladylike. So we took over Franklin. Those experiences continue to influence my work. I continue to educate people about racism and implement policies to create more equity in our society.”
Pradeepta Upadhyay: Executive Director, InterIm Community Development Association
“I was the youngest of seven daughters in my family in Nepal. My parents raised us as sons, by giving us the best education. My mother said, ‘You can be a woman, but there is nothing that a man can do that a woman can’t.’
I left my family business, (running a private school), and started a nonprofit in Nepal, Women’s Inspiration Community, which helps disadvantaged women gain access to information and knowledge to be empowered so that they can change their lives. We emigrated to the U.S. to be with my daughters. For the past 19 years, I have been fighting for justices on equity, disparity and marginalized communities, through different leadership roles. Then, I got my dream job as Interim’s executive director. I met Bob Santos (Interim’s founder) years ago in Los Angeles. I am an activist. I will continue his work and legacy, and will always speak and fight for immigrants and refugees.”
Michelle Merriweather, President and CEO, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
“What inspires me to do my job is my 32 staff members. They are the front people who help those in low places. Their passion is amazing. They help those who get out of prison and want to change their lives. Hearing their success stories fuel me. I enjoy fighting a good fight, giving voice to the voiceless. We will not rest until everyone gets an education, a roof over their head, and a place for their family. My hope is to get us out of the business, but we can’t and we just have to keep going.”