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Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act and Some Consequences

I am not sure Gov. Mike Pence and the state of Indiana expected quite the outcGayjusticery when they passed and signed into law a controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In fact, the Governor is already saying he plans to introduce a clarification of the law and that if the law was about discrimination he wouldn’t have signed it. He is not saying yet what that clarification would include. According to Lambda Legal:

If he and Indiana’s elected leadership want to be taken seriously and to fix public perception of their state, they can  — and must — take two simple steps:

  1. Pass a law to include gay and transgender people within Indiana’s existing statewide nondiscrimination rules.
  2. Add this language to the new religion law: “This chapter does not establish or eliminate a defense to a claim under any federal, state or local law protecting civil rights or preventing discrimination.

Backlash to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. has included:

Thousands of people gathering in downtown Indianapolis on Saturday to protest the passage of the law.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/03/28/thousands-protest-religious-freedom-law-indy/70596032/

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray prohibiting municipal employees from traveling to Indiana on city funds. Murray said Indiana’s new law “doesn’t reflect the values” of Seattle.
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/seattle-mayor-prohibits-city-employees-traveling-indiana/story?id=29979438

Angie’s List announcing it is canceling a $40 million headquarters expansion. According to co-founder and chief executive officer Bill Oesterle the decision is a direct result of passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. “Angie’s List is open to all and discriminates against none, and we are hugely disappointed in what this bill represents.” Oesterle said.
http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/28/news/companies/angies-list-indiana-gay-discrimination/

Indiana’s law is not the end of the issue either.  According to the Advocate Magazine: “It’s too late to stop Indiana’s new “turn-away-the-gays” legislation. Governor Mike Pence has signed it into law. But nearly half of the states are considering similar bills, some of which go even further.”   There are already many states that have some sort of religious freedom or religious liberty legislation.  There is a difference, though, because many of these other states, including Washington, have anti-discrimination laws that include lesbian, gay, and bisexual folks (and some include transgender folks).

 

~  Marcie

Presidential Proclamation and Video for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2015

President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation and posted a video, about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2015.  The proclamation is worth sharing, so I have posted it below.  You can  also find it at the link above.

Here is a link to the video:
2015_martin-luther-king-jr-day-service-video

Presidential Proclamation -- Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday, 2015 | The White House

 

~  Marcie

Two Local Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebrations

Here are two Local Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Related Events:

Right to Dream
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
11:00 – 12:00
Naval Undersea Museum AuditoriumKeyportMLK2015jpg
Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport

Captain Dave Kohnke will be the Master of Ceremonies. Featured presentation by The Living Voices. The Right to Dream recreates a student’s coming of age as an African American in Mississippi during the 1950’s and 1960’s. This program illuminates the issues of civil rights, leading audiences to understand how the fight against prejudice has shaped our history.

 

 

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
featuring the MLK Jr. Community Choir.

Monday January 19, 2015 at 10:00 AM
President’s Hall, Kitsap County Fairgrounds, 1200 Fairgrounds Road NW, Bremerton, 360-337-5376

This annual Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday celebration is by the Ebenezer AME Church, the City of Bremerton, the Kitsap County Commissioners, and Olympic College.

This is always an enlightening and uplifting event.

 

 

~  Marcie

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance is commemorated on November 20th each year as a day to remember the transgender folks who have been killed as a result of transphobia and hate.  There are way too many of them, and many of the murders remain unsolved.

 

TDOR2014

According to Gwendolyn Ann Smith, the founder of TDOR, “The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.”

The 24th Annual Kitsap County Human Rights Conference

This year’s Kitsap County Human Rights Conference is coming up and registration will be underway soon!

Save the date – Friday December 5th, 2014
Kitsap Conference Center, Bremerton, WA

This year’s conference is around the important topic: Breaking the School to Prison Pipeline – Changing the flow for our youth.

2014 HR Conf Save the DateMore information will be on the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights web site:
http://www.kitsapgov.com/boards/humanrights/hrcboard.htm

~ marcie

Missing Robin Williams

Like so many others, I was saddened by the death of Robin Williams. His roles brought such laughter and such depth of thought to all of us, and he will be incredibly missed.

Robin Williams was one my favorite actors. Back in the day, I used to watch Mork and Mindy occasionally, not because I liked the show necessarily, but just to see his humor in action. Over the years he would show up in some unusual roles, even on an episode of Law and Order SVU. I remember seeing him and John Ritter (from Three’s Company) doing a sort of stand-up comedy duet/stand off (I don’t remember the show) and Robin Williams ran comedic circles around John Ritter. He and his talent will be missed.

At first I had planned to say a bit about Robin Williams and his advocacy for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender folks. Then the news came out that he had Parkinson’s Disease and that hit close to home for me too. So I will mention both.

Robin Williams was an ally of LGBT folks. He did more than play several gay, and other diverse, characters. According to the Advocate, “Williams supported local efforts by LGBT community groups and was involved in multiple fundraisers and events. “
Link to article:   http://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/people/2014/08/11/robin-williams-found-dead-age-63

Parkinson’s Disease is a heartbreaking diagnosis. I have a movement disorder called Essential Tremor, and while there can be some outlying symptoms, the main thing I have to look forward to is shaking more and more as the years go by. Katherine Hepburn is one of many famous people who had Essential Tremor, and it is much more common than Parkinson’s. Folks with Essential Tremor have an increased risk of having Parkinson’s Disease but the connection is not understood. The prognosis for someone with Parkinson’s Disease is much grimmer, but more and more treatments are available.

I can’t know how much the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease had to do with Robin Williams’ decision to end his life.  I just wish he hadn’t.
RIP Robin Williams.

More about Parkinson’s Disease:
www.parkinson.org

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/basics/definition/CON-20028488

More about Essential Tremor:
http://essentialtremor.org/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/essential-tremor/basics/definition/CON-20034509

 

~ Marcie

 

Microaggressions and More at the Olympic College’s Diversity Conference

 

Olympic College Diversity Conference – Great Job!OCDiversityConfProgam&Bag

 

Olympic College’s first Diversity Conference was very well done, with so much good thought provoking information I am still processing it all.

 

 

 

 

What I enjoyed most about the conference were the two keynote speakers: Dr. Joy DeGruy and Yoshiko Harden.

The first keynote speaker was  Dr. Joy DeGruy

From her website: “Dr. Joy DeGruy is a nationally and internationally renowned researcher, educator, author and presenter.”

The topic of her presentation was Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome
From the Olympic College Diversity Conference Program “The theory of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome suggest that centuries of slavery followed by systemic racism and oppression have resulted in mutigenerational adaptive behaviors – some of which have been positive and reflective of resilience, and others that are detrimental and destructive.”

I was enlightened by her presentation and have bought her book on the subject, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing.

  The second keynote was given by Yoshiko Harden, Vice President for Diversity at Bellevue College

Her speech title was “Good Intentions Aren’t Enough; The Damaging Effects of Microaggressions”

Microaggression was a new concept to me, and some of you may not be familiar with it either.

From Wikipedia – “Microaggression is a theory that hypothesizes that specific interactions between those of different races, cultures, genders or sexual orientation can be interpreted as small acts of mostly non-physical aggression; the term was coined by Chester M. Pierce[1] in 1970.”

Yoshiko Harden OC Diversity Conf

From the Olympic College Diversity Conference Program: “Often it is well intended, “nice” people who tend to perpetuate microagressions”
According to the speech description “Participants will learn to identify both individual and institutional forms of microagressions, and learn practical and useful strategies to address, interrupt,a nd dismantle them.” Yoshiko Harden’s Keynote speech did all of that for me.

 

 

 

The topic of microaggressions found its way into a couple of the sessions, and I attended two of those.

One of the things I like about the idea of microagressions is it helps make sense of something I have seen and felt, but couldn’t find a way to describe. One thing that comes to mind for me is how I feel when someone says to me “Wow, you are an engineer?!  Good for you!”  (Usually interpreted as ‘you are smart for a woman’) I also like that the concept helps break down our overwhelming anti-inclusion systems into bits we can makes sense of, and find ways to each make a real difference.

There were two videos presented at the conference that showed, in a humorous way, some examples of microagression.

What Kind of Asian Are You? (this video was posted just over a hear ago and has over 7 millions hits)

Top 100 – Things White People Say to Black People

 

 

OCDiversityConfSessionTracks

There were so many good sessions, and I was impressed by the presenters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I look forward to attending the Olympic College Diversity Conference next year!

 

~ Marcie

Olympic College’s Regional Diversity Conference

Olympic College is having their first diversity conference on June 26-27, 2014.

The theme is “Are Your Roots Showing: Exploring Diversity in the Puget Sound Region”

OCdiversityconf2014outlinedFrom the Olympic College Diversity Advisory Council Web Site, the day and a half of conference “will offer participants the opportunity to enhance their understanding and skills in the areas of diversity, inclusion, multiculturalism and social justice.”

 

 

The conference schedule includes two speakers, Dr. Joy DeGruy and Yoshiko Harden.

Here is a little bit about them:

Dr. Joy DeGruy

From Dr. Joy DeGruy’s website:

Dr. Joy DeGruy is a nationally and internationally renowned researcher, educator, author and presenter. With over twenty years of practical experience as a professional in the field of social work, she gives practical insight into various cultural and ethnic groups that form the basis of contemporary American society.

Dr. Joy DeGruy  is the keynote speaker during the conference opening morning.

 

Yoshiko Harden, Vice President for Diversity at Bellevue College

From the Bellevue College website:

Harden, with over a decade of experience as a student affairs practitioner, comes to us from Highline Community College, in Des Moines, where she has held several positions, including director of multicultural services and student development.

“One of my primary goals is to increase access and success for all students, but particularly for historically marginalized groups,” she says.

Yoshiko Harden  is speaking during dinner on the first day of the conference.

 

OCdiversityconf2014poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ Marcie

 

Kudos to Youth!

 

YouthRally2014Cover

On Friday March 21st I attended the 20th annual Kitsap Youth Rally for Human Rights at Olympic College in Bremerton.  I was once again amazed and encouraged by what our youth are able to accomplish.

The Rally is supported by Kitsap Safe Schools, the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights and the Olympic College Multicultural Services Center, and is primarily planned and achieved by youth.

 

 

 

 

Some of the 12 workshops the youth prepared and presented were:

Alternative Voices of Humanity’s Universal Soul
Volunteering in the Community
Shattered Spirits: A Native Perspective

 There were also break out sessions dealing with difficult topics like rape and identity, and a production by the North Kitsap High Theater Arts and GSA of PUSH: A Social Awareness Play.

 

Kudos to the hosting Bremerton School District and all the youth that participated!

 

YouthRallySponsors

 

 

 

 

 

YouthRallySpecialThx

 

 

 

 

 

 

~   Marcie

Seattle Women’s Chorus – We Can Swing It

In a concert at the Admiral Theatre the Seattle Women’s Chorus will celebrate the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter in a whole new way:

Through the power of an original composition by Associate Artistic Director, Eric Lane Barnes. Highlighted by pieces entitled “It Ain’t Women’s Work,” “Femininity Quotient,” and “The Doors You Opened,” this moving narrative gives you a glimpse into the lives of the women who lived and worked in these dark but exciting times. Joining Seattle Women’s Chorus for a portion of the show is local all-female group, the MoodSwings Jazz Band

 

3:00 Sunday February 23rd
Admiral Theatre, Bremerton
Tickets are still available at http://admiraltheatre.org

 

SWC2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The concert is sponsored by the Kitsap Pride Network

http://kitsappride.org/

 

 

~ Marcie