Rally for Somali teen: “People want Hamza’s voice to be heard”

About 50 Muslim students and community members participated in a prayer for Hamza Warsame on December 9, 2015 at Seattle Central College, as more than 100 non-Muslim students and supporters circled those praying in solidarity. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)
About 50 Muslim students and community members participated in a prayer for Hamza Warsame on December 9, 2015 at Seattle Central College, as more than 100 non-Muslim students and supporters circled those praying in solidarity. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)

More than 150 students and community members gathered Wednesday at Seattle Central College to pray and rally for Hamza Warsame, a 16-year-old Seattle Central student who died over the weekend after falling from a sixth-floor rooftop deck.

It was the first of two rallies planned in support of the family of the teenager. Another rally is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, also at Seattle Central College.

Seattle Police say the circumstances of Warsame’s death are under investigation.

The group expressed frustration about the lack of communication and sensitivity from the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Central College.

“What led to these protests and events is a lack of communication from the police,” said Bahjo “Jojo” Gelle, Hamza Warsame’s cousin. “People want Hamza’s voice to be heard.
Sahal Mohamed (front) led the prayer for Hamza Warsame on December 9, 2015 at Seattle Central College, as more than 150 non-Muslim students and supporters circled those praying in solidarity. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)
Sahal Mohamed (front) led the prayer for Hamza Warsame on December 9, 2015 at Seattle Central College, as more than 150 non-Muslim students and supporters circled those praying in solidarity. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)

Family members and friends have said that they believe that Warsame, a full-time Running Start student at Seattle Central, was at the Capitol Hill apartment building to meet people for a study group. They also expressed concern the death was not treated seriously initially because Warsame was black.

“We want justice and we won’t rest until we get that justice,” Seattle Central College student Ardo Hersi told the crowd of protestors. “We brought you here today — to the Seattle Police Department, to the president’s office here — because oftentimes we all go through it. Being black and being in college, we face discrimination on a daily basis.”

The message that we got is that we don’t matter. That they don’t care about us,” Ardo said.

The group — carrying variations of #JusticeforHamza and #BlackLivesMatter signs — marched through the college’s halls and to the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct building on 12th Avenue to confront the Seattle Police Department. The group temporarily stopped traffic on Pine Street and Broadway.

Students and community members marched from Seattle Central College to the Seattle Police Department East Precinct to protest the way the department handled the death of Hamza Warsame, who died after a fall from a Capitol Hill building. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)
“#Sayhisname” says one one sign as students and community members marched from Seattle Central College to the Seattle Police Department East Precinct to protest the way the department handled the death of Hamza Warsame, who died after a fall from a Capitol Hill building. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)

Students and community members marched from Seattle Central College to the Seattle Police Department East Precinct to protest the way the department handled the death of Hamza Warsame, who died after a fall from a Capitol Hill building. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)

Students and community members marched from Seattle Central College to the Seattle Police Department East Precinct to protest the way the department handled the death of Hamza Warsame, who died after a fall from a Capitol Hill building. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)
Students and community members marched from Seattle Central College to the Seattle Police Department East Precinct to protest the way the department handled the death of Hamza Warsame, who died after a fall from a Capitol Hill building.
Ardo Hersi, an SCC student. Hersi didn't know Hamza personally but knew his neighbors and cousins and was part of his community. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)
Ardo Hersi, an SCC student. Hersi didn’t know Hamza personally but knew his neighbors and cousins and was part of his community.
Students and community members marched from Seattle Central College to the Seattle Police Department East Precinct to protest the way the department handled the death of Hamza Warsame, who died after a fall from a Capitol Hill building. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)
(Photos by Jovelle Tamayo.)

Ikram Warsame, one of Hamza’s older sisters, said her family now has had conferences with the Seattle Police Department, and she credited the public outcry with getting the police to meet with her family.

“I want to bring attention to the fact that the only reason we’re having this conference now is because of the attention on social media,” Warsame said.

I’m so happy about the people who’ve brought attention to this,” said about the protests and events surrounding her brother’s death. “If it wasn’t for them, my brother’s investigation wouldn’t have been as involved as it is right now.”

“Hopefully, the more this continues, the more the police department will be pushed,” Warsame said.

Seattle Police ask anyone with additional information to contact investigators at (206) 233-5000.

One of Hamza Warsame's older sisters, Ikram Warsame. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)
One of Hamza Warsame’s older sisters, Ikram Warsame.

Students and community members marched from Seattle Central College to the Seattle Police Department East Precinct to protest the way the department handled the death of Hamza Warsame, who died after a fall from a Capitol Hill building. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)

Captain Paul McDonaugh, commander of the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct, talks with Hamza Warsame’s sister, Ikram, as the group stopped in front of the East Precinct building on 12th Avenue. He urged her and her family to share all of their grievances and concerns during their meeting with the Seattle Police Department tonight, according to Ikram Warsame. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)
Captain Paul McDonaugh, commander of the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct, talks with Hamza Warsame’s sister, Ikram, as the group stopped in front of the East Precinct building on 12th Avenue. He urged her and her family to share all of their grievances and concerns during their meeting with the Seattle Police Department tonight, according to Ikram Warsame. (Photos by Jovelle Tamayo.)

Students and community members marched from Seattle Central College to the Seattle Police Department East Precinct to protest the way the department handled the death of Hamza Warsame, who died after a fall from a Capitol Hill building. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)

Students and community members marched from Seattle Central College to the Seattle Police Department East Precinct to protest the way the department handled the death of Hamza Warsame, who died after a fall from a Capitol Hill building. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)
Students and community members marched from Seattle Central College to the Seattle Police Department East Precinct to protest the way the department handled the death of Hamza Warsame. (Photos by Jovelle Tamayo.)
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