Category Archives: Civil Rights

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Social Justice Meet and Greet

Here is an event I thought worth sharing with everyone –

This Saturday, September 10th, the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights is hosting a  “Social Justice Meet and Greet” from 9:30 am. to noon at the Eagle’s Nest at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds, 1195 NW Fairgrounds Road, Bremerton.

Social justice organizations from throughout Kitsap County will join in conversations with the community about the work they do, upcoming events and resources available. The event is free and open to the public.



Remember Orlando

Since I woke up last Sunday to the news of 49 people killed in an Orlando gay nightclub (the Pulse) I have gone through a gamut of emotions, but mostly I’ve just felt sad.


Forty-nine people like me were killed for being themselves; in a place they felt safe and should have been safe.

The reason this event hits so close to my heart is one of the reasons hate crimes are considered more egregious than others – because they affect a whole sub-group of our population in profound ways. And, just like many many other LGBT folks, I am feeling profoundly affected.


The responses from all over the world that I have seen are overwhelming and there is no way to adequately mention it all here. I am including a small smattering of examples.

President Obama made a statement about the shooting and here is an excerpt:

“For so many people here who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, the Pulse Nightclub has always been a safe haven, a place to sing and dance, and most importantly, to be who you truly are — including for so many people whose families are originally from Puerto Rico. Sunday morning, that sanctuary was violated in the worst way imaginable. So whatever the motivations of the killer, whatever influences led him down the path of violence and terror, whatever propaganda he was consuming from ISIL and al Qaeda, this was an act of terrorism but it was also an act of hate. This was an attack on the LGBT community. Americans were targeted because we’re a country that has learned to welcome everyone, no matter who you are or who you love. And hatred towards people because of sexual orientation, regardless of where it comes from, is a betrayal of what’s best in us.”
(More about the statements and reactions from President Obama)

In a statement Seattle’s Mayor Edward Murray said:

“Words cannot adequately encompass the feelings of grief I am feeling for the loss of so many of our LGBTQ and allied brothers and sisters in Orlando during the largest single act of violence against LGBTQ people in United States history. For too long, our community has been the target of violence throughout the world. It will never make sense to me that love is met with such hate.”
(Mayor Murray’s complete statement)

On Monday June 13th, several Kitsap organizations, Kitsap leaders and about 300 Kitsap folks joined together for a vigil to honor the victims and their families.


During the vigil many of us  signed a banner that read “Kitsap Stands With Orlando” and the next day Bremerton’s Mayor Patty Lent mailed the banner to Orlando’s mayor.
Kitsap Sun article on vigil



In addition to the vigil, those lost in the Orlando shooting will be remembered at all of the LGBTQ Pride events in Kitsap County leading up to the 20th Kitsap Pride on July 16th.

I found several web pages with the names of those that died, with some information about each. Here are two:

These are the names to remember!
Many were so young! Senseless and tragic!



Some of the resources in Kitsap County:
Kitsap Pride Network
Kitsap PFLAG
The Q Center


Obama also said: “So if there was ever a moment for all of us to reflect and reaffirm our most basic beliefs that everybody counts and everybody has dignity, now is the time.”




~ Marcie




Local Human Rights/Diversity Happenings


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 Instill Ignite”


~ Marcie

Women’s Equality Day – Remembering and Moving Forward

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.

~ Marcie


Marriage Equality – Kitsap County Joins the Nation in Celebration

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.SCOTUS Decision June 2015 Pics

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:

White House marriage equality“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 go to:


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 You!

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.

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.” Oesterle said.

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:

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


~  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.















~ Marcie


Five Ways Martin Luther King, Jr Inspires me, and Five Inspiring Quotes

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”

~ Marcie