INITIATIVE 13 STORIES
"Blood on SOME"
In June of 1978, While the major No on I-13 organizations were developing their strategies, two independent activists carried out a planned but autonomous action against the Initiative supporters. Both Jane Meyerding and Betty Johanna had extensive experience in anti-war and social justice activism; Jane had family roots in Quaker peace advocacy.
During office hours on June 13 they entered SOME's office in the Lake City neighborhood. Employing a tactic from anti-draft board activism, they used squirt bottles of blood collected from a select few supporters to deface files and equipment, until the startled office staff called the police. Both ended up serving about 18 days in the Seattle city jail on charges of property destruction and disturbing the peace. The action received brief attention in the Seattle press.
This prompted the No on 13 organizers to formulate coherent reactions to the question before them: did this help us or hurt us? Meyerding and Johanna subsequently shared their position statements with Out and About, a local lesbian newsletter, and the Seattle Gay News.
This segment includes their stories, along with copies of their statements plus a response from Women Against Thirteen. The organized opposition to I-13 were, naturally, focussed on pragmatic strategies for winning or on forging a sense of solidarity with other marginalized communities -- or a blend of such approaches. But Meyerding and Johanna's statements, grounded as they were in philosophies of non-violent resistance to oppression, display a deeper understanding of the pacifist and humanist underpinnings of modern social change movements. They had also fully incorporated the radical feminist rebuke of patriarchal structures. Those principles are still relevant in contemporary social justice work.
For an excellent analysis of the "Blood on SOME" action and its relevance to the larger struggle, see:
Kraig, Beth, “Doing the Right Thing: Conscience, Conflict, and Community in the Struggle Against Seattle’s Initiative 13.” Peace and Change 43:4 (2018), pp. 393-419.
Jane Meyerding (center) and Betty Johanna (right) at the start of Pride March 1978.
Nancy Kreft, Jane's significant other, on left, was one of the blood donors.
"Blood on SOME" Contents:
Statements in Out and About
Jane Meyerding and Betty Johanna (4 pages)
M&J Letter of Thanks/Women Against Thirteen response (3 pages)
Jane Meyerding and Betty Johanna response (4 pages)
I-13 Stories HOME