In a petition created following the announcement, workers listed cost-effective, compassionate alternatives that would support people experiencing homelessness in downtown Seattle, rather than punish or alienate them — including the hiring of social services liaisons and hazmat cleaners, renting portable washrooms, and providing essentials like food, water, and shelter supplies to people in need.
A culture of harassment, retribution, and intimidation has long plagued SAM workers who have voiced concerns over museum policies. Complaints to HR about racism, ableism, misogyny, sexual harassment, and concerns about the museum’s relaxed COVID-19 safety policies have been ignored as well.
The SAM boycott is part of a larger effort to highlight and dismantle settler-colonialist structures existing in museums today. Decolonize SAM believes that museums, as institutions that have profited from stolen work of marginalized and colonized cultures, have a responsibility of community care and reparations. Investing in privatization and policing of community spaces perpetuates harm against marginalized people, and is a misuse of SAM’s funds that should be dedicated to reversing that harm.