Although large demonstrations against police brutality and racism in Woodinville have been peaceful, a networking group has been created to share information on possible threats to local communities, should they arise.
Woodinville resident Amber Krabach has started about 10 “Defend” Facebook pages for cities around the Eastside with the goal to create networking groups and share information regarding possible threats to local communities. She said a lot of people were concerned about the violence and destruction in Bellevue and Seattle but did not know what to do or how to help.
“I started thinking about the need for people to be able to communicate and coordinate better,” she said. “The goal of these groups, in particular, is to take that worry and concern and have a place where people can focus on it constructively.”
Krabach has used Facebook as a platform for residents to communicate, reach out to one another, and avoid confusion if anything destructive happens again. She wants to help business owners feel "a little more secure and confident,” while forming plans to respond in the right way, if necessary.
“One of the things that I really wanted to see from these groups is the ability to quickly reach out to people and say, ‘Hey, there are business owners that are concerned in downtown Redmond, or wherever, and they need help boarding up their windows,’” she said.
People have expressed concern that these Facebook groups are meant to be divisive, she said, which was not the intention. Krabach said some individuals have a preconceived understanding of what defending a town might look like, although her ultimate objective was to effectively coordinate safe responses to potentially harmful acts of violence.
“I'm not against the people protesting,” Krabach said. “I support the honor of George Floyd's memory through these protests. I support the kids being out there and organizing it. I think that really shows a lot about the community.”
She said it is unlikely for Woodinville to have major issues with anarchists because of the town’s size and distance from larger cities. The risk is not as high, but it is important to be prepared, she added.
After the initial damage from protests in Seattle and Bellevue, Krabach said she was inspired by the number of people from all over the Eastside that came out to remove spray paint, clean up the glass, put up plywood and bring the community together.
“I wanted to make sure that my community knew that someone was listening to the concerns that they had. I was trying to help them make sure that their anxiety, energy and concern had a place to be addressed.”