Category Archives: Civil Rights

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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


2013 Kitsap County Human Rights Conference “The Ally is You!”

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:



~ Marcie


What the Supreme Court’s Historic Ruling Means to Kitsap County Couples

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:

~ Marcie


Renewed thoughts about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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 that matter.”
~ 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”



~ Marcie

Standing on the Side of Love

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:
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.





~ Marcie