People protest at Totem Lake Menchie’s on Nov. 20, 2018, regarding a black man being asked to leave the store earlier that month. File photo

People protest at Totem Lake Menchie’s on Nov. 20, 2018, regarding a black man being asked to leave the store earlier that month. File photo

Driving While Black: Educational talks regarding racism in the community

Community discussion is Feb. 19

The city and non-profit organization Leadership Eastside will host their second event for Kirkland Talks About Racism. The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Lake Washington Institute of Technology, 11605 132nd Ave. NE, Kirkland. All mature audiences are encouraged to attend and participate in this community discussion.

This initiative was launched after an incident occurred in 2018 at a Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt in Totem Lake. The owner of the store had asked a black man, Byron Ragland, to leave the establishment. Police officers made contact, and relayed to Ragland that he was not wanted there. Ragland explained that he was supervising a visit with a woman and her child as a court-appointed special advocate. Officers neglected to mediate the situation, and the party left the establishment.

Since the incident, the police department has updated their practice of handling unwanted subject calls to include the use of the NORCOM dispatch center.

The purpose of the event is to help bring Kirkland residents together because, as Ppresident of Leadership Eastside James Whitfield described, “everyone deserves to thrive, and people affected by issues should be part of the solution.”

There are two elements to the event. The first will be a presentation that relays history, data and tools for how members of the community can engage in conversations about driving and being a person of color. The second includes two dialogues where individuals have the opportunity to share experiences and perspectives on the topic.

For more information, visit

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