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”
From 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.
Five Ways I am Inspired by Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
1) He spoke out about what is right
2) He promoted using peaceful means, while not backing down
3) His had superb oratory skills – people listened to him
4) His succeeded academically at a place and time when racism was an omnipresent barrier
5) He had a dream
Five Inspiring Quotes from Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
1) “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
2) “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
3) “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
4) “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
5) “the time is always right to do the right thing”
This year’s Kitsap County Human Rights Conference is Friday December 6th. This event is put on by the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights, and is held each year on a Friday close to International Human Rights Day. This year is the 23rd .
This year’s theme is “The Ally Is YOU – Inspire – Empower – Unite” and the conference includes a day of speakers and workshops, as well as time to network – “bringing people together to educate and strengthen the LGBTQI community and Allies.”
There are two outstanding keynote speakers scheduled – Suzanne Engelberg, PhD , who will describe three powerful but simple steps straight allies can take to make an important difference in the lives of GLBTQI people, and Anthony Gipe, president elect of the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA). Gipe will be WSBA’s first openly gay president
According to their web site, the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights was formed in 1989 and has a two part mission:
The mission of the Kitsap County
Council for Human Rights is twofold:
1. Advise county government and Kitsap County residents on issues related to discrimination, violence and harassment based on race or national origin, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or economic status;
2. Promote the equitable treatment of all citizens and reduce prejudice through the development of prevention policies, education, resource, referrals, and advocacy.
Kitsap County Human Rights Conference
December 6, 2013 8 a.m.-3:15 p.m.,
Kitsap Conference Center, Bremerton
The Ally is YOU! Inspire, Empower, Unite
More information is available at:
What does the Supreme Court’s historic ruling striking down Section 3 of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) mean to married couples in Kitsap County? It was a huge step forward towards equality for same-sex couples and their families, with far reaching effects – from income taxes to immigration.
There are over a thousand federal benefits now available to married couples in states that recognize their marriages, like here in Washington. Couples in states that do not recognize their marriage will only have some of the federal benefits, and that part is a little more confusing.
The Lambda Legal website had more information about the decision and what it means.
In addition, many folks in Kitsap County are federal employees, so the US Supreme Court decision to strike down the part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that prevented federal recognition of married same-sex couples opens up employee benefits previously only available to heterosexual married couples. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was swift to put into place an open enrollment period for any couples already married.
Here is a link to more information:
Recently someone I was talking with told me he thought we should not have a holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but rather a day to celebrate civil rights. He went on to say he thought Dr. King was a “glory hound.” That statement took me aback, because I have mostly heard people voice respect for the work Dr. King did for the civil rights movement.
After mulling it over for a few days, I have decided that the person I was talking to must not ever have been involved in grass roots organizing. Movements need spokespersons; they need to be given a face. Dr. King was the face of the civil rights movement. That may mean those folks in the spotlight, like Dr. King, get the attention and much of the credit for work really being done by many, but those spokespersons are an essential part of making steps forward for justice. In Dr. King’s case, he was an inspiring spokesperson and a galvanizing force for the civil rights movement, and he is still an inspiration for those of us working towards social justice. As he became famous, he was able to leverage that fame to help many communities desegregate, as well as help reduce discrimination for workers and in housing.
I have mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating: In his Letter from Birmingham Jail (April 16, 1963), Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” That still rings true for me.
I have been involved in grass roots organizing and I understand that the organizations that I work with have executive directors and board chairpersons, and that those folks are often the ones talking to the media while many of us work more quietly in the background. We are not in it for the glory. We are not working on the issues we care about for the credit. We are trying to do our part to make positive changes in our communities, and in the greater world. There is a place for us that are quiet to do good work, as well as a place for the spokespeople.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy lives on with the work still being done for justice.
*** Some other quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ***
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things
~ Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
“The time is always right to do the right thing”
A group diverse in age and religious affiliation gathered on Tuesday evening at the Library in Poulsbo to talk about the importance of marriage equality and “standing on the side of love.”
Much of the discussion was around religion, even though it is the legal aspects of marriage that are likely on the line in November. One of the people who spoke was Washington State Representative Drew Hansen (23rd Legislative District). As a self-proclaimed devout Christian, he eloquently conveyed why what he sees in the Bible shows him that Christians should support marriage equality.
While there was a predominance of Unitarian Universalists attending, many Christian denominations were represented as well.
Also speaking was a young couple from Bremerton, one of which is a U.S. Navy Sailor, who both shared how heartening it was to see such a supportive group assembled. This couple is an excellent example of why marriage equality is important – One of them is fighting for the rights of all of us, the other is his supporter at home, yet they are denied equal access to the right to legally marry the person they love.
Two representatives of Washington United for Marriage explained
how they are gearing up for the fight to approve Referendum 74 if
it ends up on the ballot in November as expected. For
supporters of marriage equality there are many ways to help and
information is available on their webpage: http://washingtonunitedformarriage.org/
Also, look for them at community events around the state over the next few months.
Washington United for Marriage and the North Kitsap Unitarian Universalist Church sponsored the Marriage Equality Town Hall. Standing on the Side of Love is a Unitarian Universalist Association sponsored public advocacy campaign that seeks to harness love’s power to stop oppression.
February is African American History Month
You can find national information about this month at:
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:
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:
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.
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:
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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,
Today, Governor Gregoire made a moving speech in support of marriage equality in Washington State.
I was not able to be there in person at the press conference, but I did watch the video later and felt the genuine support she expressed.
I agree with Governor Gregoire that marriage equality is a civil rights issue and that it really is time for marriage equality in Washington State.
Link to Kitsap Sun article about Governor Gregoire’s
Link to another Kitsap Sun Blog post about this topic:
video of press conference:
A couple of things have happened recently that I think are worth noting –
One you probably heard about…
Here in our Kitsap County corner of the world, we had a piece of good news about marriage equality, and I applaud the Suquamish Tribe for stepping up and doing the right thing – recognizing the same-sex couples in their community with the right to civil marriage. I also applaud the woman who stood up and asked for the Tribal Council’s consideration of approving same-sex marriage, which started the ball rolling towards marriage equality for the Suquamish Tribe.
The second you probably did not hear about…
Not too long before the unanimous vote of the Suquamish Tribal Council, in a distant land and in the midst of tragedy and terror, a married lesbian couple in Norway was showing that they were heroic members of their community by saving 40 youth from the shooting on Utoya island.
The Finnish capital city’s largest daily newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, published an article about what these courageous women did in Norway, which was translated into English and published in a blog post of Talk About Equality: “If a Married Lesbian Couple Saves 40 Teens from the Norway Massacre and No One Writes About it, Did it Really Happen?”
Here is the article (translated from Finnish):
Hege Dalen and her spouse, Toril Hansen were near Utöyan having dinner on the opposite shore across from the ill-fated campsite, when they began to hear gunfire and screaming on the island.
“We were eating. Then shooting and then the awful screaming. We saw how the young people ran in panic into the lake,” says Dale to HS in an interview.
The couple immediately took action and pushed the boat into Lake Tyrifjorden.
Dalen and Hansen drove the boat to the island, picked up from the water victims in shock in, the young and wounded, and transported them to the opposite shore to the mainland. Between runs they saw that the bullets had hit the right side of the boat.
Since there were so many and not all fit at once aboard, they returned to the island four times.
They were able to rescue 40 young people from the clutches of the killer.
“We did not sleep last night at all. Today, we have been together and talked about the events,” Dalen said.
Lesbians making history both near and far.