Silent Black Lives Matter march planned for Edmonds Friday afternoon

A silent Black Lives Matter march is being planned in Edmonds at 2 p.m. Friday, June 12, starting and ending at Civic Playfield.

According to the Facebook event listing, the march “will be in silence to honor and mourn the lives lost to police brutality and institutional racism.” Participants are encouraged to bring signs, maintain a 6 foot distance from others and wear a mask or other face covering.

Organizer Ilana Balint said the event, being led “by myself and a few Edmonds residents,” was scheduled to coincide with a Seattle Black Lives March Friday at the same time. However, it has received some pushback from local supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement, who questioned why Balint and other organizers did not first consult with Edmonds Black leaders before organizing it.

One of those raising that issue was Edmonds resident Alicia Crank, a Black woman who serves on the city’s Planning Board and also recently ran for Edmonds City Council. In a video posted to her Facebook page, Crank cited her recent “open letter to Edmonds leadership” (posted on My Edmonds News) reminding city leaders and members of the media to engage Black community members in issues about the Black community, stating “Nothing about us, without us.”

Noting that the Edmonds march organizer is not a Black person or person of color, Crank said that “the Black people in Black Lives Matter” were not included in the planning. “That’s a bit of a problem,” she said. “You can’t do things that are about us, without us.”

Crank said she won’t be at the Edmonds event, instead attending a Black Lives Matter march Friday in Everett. “I don’t wish it (the Edmonds march) to not be some level of success but I really hope that it becomes a teachable moment even if hurts for a little bit,” she said. “We need to do these things right. Including the ‘us’ — whether it’s persons of color or if it has something to do with the disability community or it’s to do with people who live in the Bowl that don’t want to see parts of Main Street shut down. You get equally upset if those that live down there or have businesses down there don’t have a voice in that decision-making. It’s that simple. It’s not racial.”

In response, Balint said the Edmonds march “was merely intended to be an extension of the silent march being organized in Seattle by Black Lives Matter King County and an opportunity for Edmonds residents to lend their voices to the chorus of voices happening across the state tomorrow. This was a very rapidly developing opportunity and there should have been greater consultation with local Black leaders. For that I am truly sorry. But, the cause is still the same.”



  1. I really appreciate your Journalism here, Teresa. Thank you for taking the time to document both sides.

  2. I will be there. As Alicia said, “I don’t wish it to not be some level of success.” I will be honest and say, I feel the organizer is being overly criticized for the lack of early engagement with the local Black community. BLM Seattle says “we encourage local groups to organize a march in their communities” and that’s what this person did. From the comments on the Facebook event, they are trying to do the right thing. I’ve also been told several times that White people cannot ask Black people to do the White people’s antiracism work them, and so taking the cue from BLM Seattle and moving forward seems completely consistent with that request, too. It’s easy to see that guidance as the opposite of “nothing about us, without us.”
    As a Black friend of mine has said, when it comes to intent versus impact, there has to be learning, also. I see that happening. And it would indeed be a sad outcome if the march fell apart and there was no event in Edmonds, or the organizer turned away from working to support BLM, or others refrained from getting involved because they were afraid they would be shot down.

    1. I appreciate your point and I agree, I am close to the organizer and she feels very discouraged by the extent of criticism she received. She did reach out first thing to BLM and then when she learned who the local leaders were she reached out for help and invitation. But was declined and some gave her much criticism. Normally, I would completely agree with ‘nothing about us without us’ but in this case she was answering the call from BLM directly. I for one am way more reluctant to take action now. 🙁

  3. I am glad that there is a march in Edmonds I am able to participate in. Perhaps Alicia Crank should have organized one here in Edmonds where she serves the community. Thank you Ilana Balint for stepping up so we here can join others nationwide today in support of #blacklivesmatter.

    1. It is not the responsibility of any black member of our community to organize or educate. It is our responsibility as white allies and accomplices to do the heavy lifting ensuring that black voices and experiences are amplified.

    2. Heather, I am genuinely curious why you think the weight of this organizing should fall on Alicia’s shoulders? Isn’t it enough that she’s on a gazzillion committees and has her own full time job? What continues to be overlooked here (or excused with “but the intention was there (and yes, it was a good intention)”) is the basic premise that Alicia so eloquently shared – “nothing about us(Black people), without us”. It’s important to note that the police were contacted BEFORE the Edmonds black community. So whatever the intent was, I get why Alicia and the black community were shaking their heads. There are so many statements of “we can do better, but this had the right intent” – yes, it did. But there are so many “buts” which ignores the very point of Alicia (and many other black people’s words). And isn’t that who this is about? I, too, am glad that there is a march locally (as I face transportation challenges and concerns about COVID). But it’s okay to question how the process failed to take into account the very people we are seeking to support. And how important it is to learn from this – not just to give it the brush off. This post really resonated with me and my typical jump to action personality – the analogy to the ER is really eyeopening.

      1. I don’t. Clearly you misunderstood me. Please read my comment clarifying my statement.
        I do think the public rebuke was unnecessary, and, the march in Edmonds IS now affiliated with the official BLM organization.

  4. I agree with the comments already stated. Alicia Crank has made some valid comments but I wish she would have opted to join in with the Ilana Balint’s efforts here in Edmonds. Being a white woman myself, I strive to do better when I know better. I respectively look forward to being part of the silent march today.

    1. Marilyn: Had I not already had committed to the Everett event, which I knew about days ago and knew who the planners were, I may have opted for the one happening in Edmonds today. However, I and several others only learned about this one less than 24 hours ago. I am sure there will be other members of the Black community in attendance.

      1. I appreciate your feedback and perspective. I helped Ilana with the event. I completely get your point about ‘nothing about us without us’ and I agree. Wednesday the 10th we went for a walk and she had read the call from BLM directly encouraging organizers to start a march in their home town, she was answering that call. Next morning she reached out to BLM then reached out to find out who the leaders from the community. She did not reach you till later that day. She should have held off on contacting anyone else till she got a hold of you first but the window was tight and instead just reached out everywhere all at once. It may have felt like it but black leaders were not an after thought for her but an important part. Lessons were learned for sure but I want to say that some of the criticism from some of the members of the Edmonds Indivisible group went too far in my opinion. The goal should be to educate not discourage right?

  5. Did anyone even read what Alicia Crank said? Her point is being entirely missed. She is making the point that black people need to be included when developing things that support. .”“You can’t do things that are about us, without us.” Black leaders were not even asked about it, consulted, or included in the development. While the “intention” may have been good, we as white people need to get this point and not just go about what we think is best, that is history repeating itself and is a continued aggression.. We need the conversation, clear communication, other wise black lives will continue to go unheard.

  6. To clarify, yes, I heard and read what Alicia Crank said. My point was simply that Ilana Balint saw a need and stepped up where no one else had. As an Edmonds resident who is unable to get to marches in other towns I appreciate that. Was everything done perfectly? No. Learning opportunity? Absolutely.

    1. I am close to the organizer I appreciate you saying this. I feel discouraged to be pro-active like this in the future.

  7. What about a march for all the police officers who died in service of protecting American lives and our communities? Well I guess they don’t matter because they are all racists. How about the next time you need help you don’t call 911? 99.9% of law enforcement officers are NOT racists and they conduct themselves with honor and adherence to the constitutional rights of the citizens they risk their lives for every day.
    Yes, we must work harder to erase racial bigotry from our culture and find new ways to address those who are poisoning our attempts to do so.

    But please, lets have some balance here. As the famous quote from the VietNam War goes, “We had to destroy the village to save it”. Destroy our police to save our communities? How will that work out?
    Well, it won’t.

    1. Hi mark!

      We aren’t saying all cops are racists. That’s simply a blanket statement that isn’t true. What we are saying is that BIPOC are more likely to be abused, killed, and put in jail for far longer time than their white counterparts. There needs to be police reform.

      Police officers shouldn’t have to be the ones to take care of everything. Moving the excess amount of money they are given away from the force, and into the community to better schools, mental and addictive health facilities, and more, will help.

      If you watch, the police are using excessive force on the black community, and killing them at a higher rate. This is the systemic racism at work. This is why Black Lives Matters is here. We aren’t saying ONLY black lives matter, but bringing attention to the fact that the US doesn’t seem to think they do, hence why they are more likely to be killed or thrown in jail.

      You may not understand it now because you live in a rich, white town (I’m assuming you live in Edmonds), so you don’t see the problems since Edmonds is predominantly white.

      That doesn’t mean you can’t look up how the police are responding the PEACEFUL protesters. Just their quick ability to turn violent should show you the problem in the system. More training and education needs to be given to them.

      There are far more BIPOC who have been killed by the police other than George Floyd and breonna Taylor. You just need to look them up. Learn their names, their stories. Then you will see (hopefully) why we are fighting for police reform.

      Educating yourself is the first step. I hope you won’t take this with any malice intent.

    2. Always smile when I hear from white liberal do gooders, biggest hypocrites. Did you ever go to Harison Elementary School, or Meany Jr Highschool in Capital Hill. where you would have been one of three white children in a class? My brothers and sisters married spouses from Mexico, China, Lebanon, and two countries from the African continent, and all had at least two children. All lean on the conservative side politically. Most people associate with people we are comfortable with. Liberals talk the big talk, but when was the last time you had a Black African American over for dinner? So if “Black Lives Matter,” when were you with a Black African American in a coffeeshop? If you really want to get to the root of the Black African American experiance you need to talk to recent Black Africans that have immigrated to the United States in the last 50 years. In general new African immigrants feel more comfortable, and have more in common with a white person than a Black African American. If you are wondering why I not not use the term African American, simple, not all African Americans are Black.
      I lived in Chicago for for five years, if you want to have the most difficult impossible job, you become a Chicago policeman.

  8. I think that this thread highlights the struggle I and many I know are having in trying to respond to recent events in an effective way. I think that every positive effort for change should be appreciated and received in the spirit in which it was offered, and all suggestions of positive action should be welcomed. I strongly encourage watching, on YouTube, the rebroadcast of Oprah Winfrey, Where Do We Go From Here. It was a thought provoking, clarifying and awakening experience for me and changed my outlook in a profound way. I certainly don’t have all the answers but I realize that change must come and I want it to come, and I pray for it to come. Let’s all help each other toward a different future.

  9. It sounds like this event, however well-intentioned, was thrown together at the last minute. Even in this age of instant communications, we need more than a few hours’ notice. A little advance planning would have revealed the need to involve the Black community~ an oversight that’s hard to fathom, frankly.

    1. This was announced 3 days ago so depending on how you define “last minute” there wasn’t a lot of time allowed for planning for anyone. While I can understand the comments about making sure we the right people are included at the right time during the planning and implementation, I would like to comment and thank Ms. Balint. It is hard and sometimes thankless job to be an organizer. She got the word out in a pretty timely manner; this has been posted for several days on social media. And she took the time yesterday to have flyers distributed to homes along the march route so we are aware and can plan accordingly. No execution is flawless and a good organizer will always learn. I would hope that the black community reaches out directly to Ms. Balint so that in the future if she wishes to continue in her efforts she has contact information for these quickly evolving events.

      1. Thank you for saying this. I helped her with the march. Lessons were learned but I am grateful to her for having the courage to organize this.

    1. I for one am very impressed with Ilana and Alicia. Alicia was able to share her with thoughts concerns, regarding the planning, while still wishing the Edmonds March well. Ilana was able to hear her and apologize for the unintended oversight and still make a difference.
      Well done ladies! Today, you are our examples and my heroes. Thank you.

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