Join the Kitsap Interfaith Network on Sunday Feb. 28th at 4:00 pm …
Join the Kitsap Interfaith Network on Sunday Feb. 28th at 4:00 pm …
December 4th was a milestone in the history of human rights in Kitsap County – It was the 25th Annual Kitsap Human Rights Conference with the theme: “Where we were…Where we are going…”
The conference is planned each year by the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights, and for the last few years has been at the Kitsap County Conference Center on the Bremerton Harborside.
This year’s conference included Keynote speakers Leonard Forsman (Suquamish Tribal Council Chair) and Cheryl Nunez (Olympic College’s first vice president for diversity and equity).
The varied and insightful breakout sessions included topics on racism, youth violence and suicide, addressing local sexual exploitation, and making communities safe for transgender and gender nonconforming people.
Save the date – on June 23 and 23th, 2016 Olympic College will
hold their 3rd annual diversity conference “Inspire
Women’s Equality Day is August 26th
Women’s Equality Day was designated as August 26th via a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1971. August 26th was chosen to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote, in 1920
According to the National Women’s History Project, “The observance of Women’s Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality. Workplaces, libraries, organizations, and public facilities now participate with Women’s Equality Day programs, displays, video showings, or other activities.”
This year’s Presidential Proclamation sums up the importance of
the day well:
“On August 26, 1920, after years of agitating to break down the barriers that stood between them and the ballot box, American women won the right to vote. On the front lines of pickets and protests, champions from every corner of our country banded together to expand this fundamental freedom to women and forge a path toward fairer representation and greater opportunity. As we celebrate 95 years since the certification of the 19th Amendment, let us demonstrate our commitment to the belief that we are all entitled to equal treatment by supporting policies that help women succeed and thrive.”
Click here to read the entire proclamation.
Find a way to commemorate the day – It is important for all of us to remember what women before us sacrificed, and to keep moving forwards towards full equality for women.
While there is more work to do on many levels, today’s history making Supreme Court decision is worth celebrating. In social justice work, in order to keep from being overwhelmed and getting burned out, we need to celebrate even small victories, and today was more than just a small victory, it was a huge one.
Kitsap County joined folks around the nation in celebrating with at least two Bremerton bars hosting. One celebration was at the Honor Bar near Evergreen Park, and another was at the Toro Lounge downtown Bremerton.
The Supreme Court decision has far reaching impacts, and it is hard to know where to begin. However, I found some statements from a variety of organizations that I thought worth sharing. I have been working towards marriage equality for about 15 years, and many folks have been doing more for longer. Even though getting to this point in marriage equality has taken a long time, in some ways it seems like it happened fast. I guess because once the marriage equality ball started rolling through the states it really picked up speed.
The decision today is a positive thing for families all over the United States, including military families that include same sex spouses. Since Kitsap County is a “Navy Town” the decision today affects many military families here. The American Military Partner Association posted in their blog:
“Nationwide marriage equality is a tremendous victory, and the progress made for LGBT service members and their families in just a few short years has been profound.” Before today’s decision “… even after so many states gained marriage equality, and even though the military recognized the legal marriages of our members, once they stepped off their military installation, the laws of the state often took precedence. Even if they lived in an equality state, it was very likely they would eventually be transferred; with no guarantees their new assignment would be in another equality state. They lived in fear of their families losing the everyday legal recognition others often take for granted, like married tax status, the ability to make healthcare decisions for your spouse, or enrolling your child in school.”
The Kitsap Sun talked with the spouse of a Sailor on the
USS Stennis in this article:
The effects of today’s Supreme Court ruling are so far reaching
that, in a joint effort, the American Civil Liberties Union,
Freedom to Marry, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders,
Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal and National Center for Lesbian
Rights created a page of information for families with questions
about how this affects them:
Lambda Legal was a key player in the legal part of the process and posted this on their blog:
“What a day! After decades of work by Lambda Legal and many others, we have at long last secured the freedom to marry for all same-sex couples throughout the entire United States. Today’s moving and inspirational decision in Obergefell v. Hodges is one for the history books.”
This victory for marriage equality is about love and families, and Kitsap PFLAG joins PFLAG National in celebrating the Supreme Court decision. PFLAG National board president Jean Hodges made this statement today:
“Today feels like a wedding that the entire country was invited to, and the whole PFLAG family is right up front with hearts overflowing and tears in our eyes. By affirming the rights of all loving couples to commit to each other with the full weight of legal protection that marriage affords, the Supreme Court has affirmed a founding principle that we must all continue to strive for: a more perfect union.”
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24. On their blog they describe how youth are affected by this decision in a positive way:
“Today we celebrate the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to uphold marriage equality across America. This historic ruling not only affects couples who have been fighting to obtain the basic civil right to get married, but also the many youth who live in families with same-sex parents. Today, all youth, including those who identify as LGBTQ, can have hope that they will grow up in a nation that is moving towards respecting all human rights.”
One of the highlights for me today was President Obama’s expression of support. Part of what he said this morning about the Supreme Court decision is:
“This ruling is a victory for Jim Obergefell and the other plaintiffs in the case. It’s a victory for gay and lesbian couples who have fought so long for their basic civil rights. It’s a victory for their children, whose families will now be recognized as equal to any other. It’s a victory for the allies and friends and supporters who spent years, even decades, working and praying for change to come.”
for the complete transcript of what President Obama said today
To all of you that have played a part in getting us to where we
are today, even if that part was just coming to the understanding
yourself of how marriage equality is the right thing – Thank
I am not sure Gov. Mike Pence and the state of Indiana expected quite the outcry 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
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
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.
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.”
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).
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:
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.
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: