A group of community members from Seattle’s Central District have already said, "Enough is enough."
"We've become so accustomed to our loss, our trauma is so deep, our skin has gotten so tough that it’s normal now. This isn’t how normal people live! This is not how normal people live!" said Omari Salisbury, a Seattle community advocate.
In a parking lot known as the epicenter of violence, drug use and crime for years, this group pulled together to say, not enough is enough, but instead: Where is the action when it comes to public safety?
"Now we’re all asking, since we’re in hotspots and there’s a lot of violence — can we have bulletproof windows? Where is our bulletproof windows?" said Appollonia Washington, a day care owner.
Washington and her mother Deborah Coleman own A 4 Apple Learning Center, a day care right across from the Central District parking lot. They say for two years they’ve been emailing different city leaders and the company that owns the lot, which is surrounded by bus stops, asking for something to be done about the crime they see every day. They say they’ve seen no direct action resulting from their pleas.
"The drug abuse, the overdoses, the prostitution, the stealing, the drug deals, seeing people getting their purses snatched," said Coleman.
On Monday morning, Washington’s worst fears came true. A bullet from a drive-by shooting broke through her front window, landing right in the middle of her classroom.
The 24 children, along with the staff, hid in the bathrooms in the back of the classroom. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the children didn’t process what happened as a shooting. The staff and the parents, though, are the ones truly reeling. "I'm not blaming the drugs, or the drug users, I'm saying if you allow this sort of thing to fester it stems off into other parts of the community," said Alex Cooley, a parent.
In the latest numbers from King County, where Seattle is located, shootings this quarter compared to the last five are up 17%. The number of shooting fatalities is up 76%.
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office responded to Scripps News via email, saying they are trying to get funding passed to pay for crime prevention efforts like security cameras, a gunshot locating system and license plate readers.
Washington and other neighborhood day care owners say they’ve had enough of reactive efforts, and they want to see action before it gets worse. They want the city to supply them with bulletproof glass.
"Our children deserve the high quality programs we provide right here in the middle of the hood, so give us our bulletproof glass please, that’s all we ask," said Angelia Maxie, the executive director at Tiny Tots Development Center.
As A 4 Apple’s story spreads coast to coast, they’re asking for more community investment in the safety of childcare facilities.
Bulletproof glass in day care may sound dystopian, but the numbers show gun violence is not getting better. Washington is demanding for a proactive response, because she's said enough is enough — enough times.
"This can happen to anybody, anywhere. How are spaces with children being protected?" said Washington.
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com