Seattle CityClub’s choice to invite Jeh Johnson, who served as President Obama's Department of Homeland Security Secretary, to be the keynote speaker at their annual fundraiser was a mistake. Under Johnson’s leadership, the Department of Homeland Security reached a record number of 2.7 million deportations leaving behind an immigration machine that profits from the detention of immigrant communities and strips away peoples’ humanity.
The event is billed as promoting civility and security. There is absolutely nothing civil about the separation of children and families, the widespread abuse that goes on in these facilities, and in many cases, literal deaths caused by the inhumane treatment of ICE agents and the Department of Homeland Security.
Local immigrant rights leaders contacted Seattle CityClub as early as mid-April and communicated that having this speaker would cause tremendous pain to their communities. CityClub decided to proceed with the event as planned. The leadership of our immigrant rights community felt betrayed and reached out for help. Seattle Indivisible joined with over forty organizations to stand in solidarity and demand either the format of the event be changed to include a dialogue including immigrant rights leaders or that Secretary Johnson be uninvited.
Well-intentioned people and organizations make mistakes, but CityClub refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing or accept any responsibility. They came across as tone deaf, dismissive, and disrespectful.
CityClub likely does not understand the pain they are causing. Unfortunately, a lack of understanding does not change the very real harm being done by Seattle CityClub.
We would strongly prefer to call them in, but make no mistake:
We absolutely will call them out on Tuesday!
We stand with immigrant communities!
Are you with us?
Tuesday, June 18
At 7th and Pike
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