When Nikkita Oliver became the first serious challenger to announce that she’d run against Seattle’s current mayor, Ed Murray, many in her community were overjoyed, reports Ijeoma Oluo. A young, black progressive lawyer, community organizer, and activist, Oliver had also “been by our side fighting to protect the dignity of our homeless population” and “the future of our youth of color.” Everyone, Oluo says, “knew she was for real.”
“But I know a thing or two about what it’s like to be a loud black woman in this city. This majority-white city loves to hold up its activists and artists of color — provided they don’t do or say anything to threaten the status quo,” says Oluo.
Despite the lack of attention from the mainstream press, Oliver has run an exciting campaign, with “hundreds of Seattleites of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and classes” showing up for a real progressive candidate.
“I have an incredible team. They are mostly people of color, mostly women and queer folks and — we get it. When something happens that would throw other people off, we just keep moving. We are resilient. I think that is a really big advantage for us,” Oliver told Oluo.
As a child of working-class parents, Oliver is all-too-familiar with moving from one apartment to apartment in search of affordable rent in Seattle as the city becomes more and more gentrified.
Oliver sat down with Oluo recently to discuss the mayor’s race and the challenges ahead for her and the people of Seattle.