Humanity is like a Patchwork Quilt

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Archive for February, 2012

February is African American History Month

Friday, February 24th, 2012

 

February is African American History Month

You can find national information about this month at:
http://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/

However, I want to highlight some things that relate closer to home. I found a wealth of information on the Kitsap Black Historical Society web page.  There I learned that segregation was alive and well in Kitsap County during World War II, and that Sinclair Park was an area where the residents were primarily African American.   One of the residents of Sinclair Park, Al Colvin, was also a Tuskegee Airman, and then later a Bremerton City Councilman.  He was just one of many influential African Americans in Kitsap County.
Check out their web page for more information and some pictures from that era:
http://www.kitsapblackhistory.org/

We recently lost a civil rights pioneer, and it would be remiss to talk about African American history here in Kitsap County without mentioning Lillian Walker.   She did much in Kitsap County and an article in the Kitsap Sun after her death in January highlights her accomplishments:
http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2012/jan/05/lillian-walker-the-soul-of-bremerton-dies-at-98/

A Kitsap Regional Library blog mentions that she was a founding member of the Bremerton NAACP and the Kitsap YWCA, as well as being very involved with the libraries.
http://www.krl.org/blogs/?p=434&option=com_wordpress&Itemid=100675

One of the more interesting bits of information I found online was an oral history about Lillian Walker on the Washington Secretary of State web page. Here is a quote about the project: “Proving you can make history regardless of your lot in life, Lillian Walker fought for her civil rights long before Martin Luther King Jr. professed his dream. So poor her family barely noticed the Great Depression, Lillian today is hailed as one of the important civil rights activists in Bremerton history.”

To find out more about her full and inspiring life, check out Lillian Walker’s Oral History here:
http://www.sos.wa.gov/legacyproject/oralhistories/lillianwalker/default.aspx

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 This is not from Kitsap County, but I found it noteworthy – Here is a link to a video where as part of a reading from Voices of a People’s History of the United States (Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove,), Alfre Woodard reads “Ain’t I a Woman?”, a speech delivered by abolitionist Sojourner Truth at the Women’s Convention in 1851. (February 1, 2007 at All Saints Church in Pasadena, CA.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4vr_vKsk_h8#!

 

~ Marcie


The Washington State Senate Approves Marriage Equality Bill

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

I just watched live (on TV – Thanks to TVW) as the Washington State Senate discussed and then approved the Marriage Equality bill – 28 Yeas to 21 Nays.  I was excited a week ago when enough Senators to pass the bill said that they would vote in favor, but seeing it actually happen was exciting on a whole new level.

Prior to the debate on the actual bill, there were several amendments that were discussed and voted on.  Some of the amendments that passed clarified the protections of religious organizations.  Two amendments that did not pass would have allowed non-religious organizations and businesses to discriminate, contrary to our state non-discrimination laws, and would have put the issue to the voters for approval.

There were some very moving words during the discussion of the bill.  Democratic Senator Murray explained how marriage is important because it is how society says you are a family.  Senator Hobbs mentioned that he would be drilling with fellow reserve soldiers this weekend, some of which are gay, and how could he look them in the eye if he did not vote yes on this bill.  He said “I will never leave a fallen comrade behind.”  Republican Senator Steve Litzow has some great matter-of-fact comments in favor of the bill including how the right to marry is part of the constitutional right to pursue happiness.

Now the bill moves on to the Washington State House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass, then on the Governor Gregoire to sign.  I realize there is likely to be a referendum to put this up to a vote of the people, and we will have to endure misleading statements like what one Senator against the bill said tonight – that marriage equality would create a hostile environment for those folks that support traditional marriage.  However, we will also have the opportunity to hear many more stories about how marriage equality will have a positive affect on Washington State families.

This is a huge step forward, and I am hoping the momentum continues until Washington State becomes a place where all families are valued.

~ Marcie