Category Archives: Social Justice

This blog is a Kitsap Sun reader blog. The Kitsap Sun neither edits nor previews reader blog posts. Their content is the sole creation and responsibility of the readers who produce them. Reader bloggers are asked to adhere to our reader blog agreement. If you have a concern or would like to start a reader blog of your own, please contact sunnews@kitsapsun.com.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance is commemorated on November 20th each year as a day to remember the transgender folks who have been killed as a result of transphobia and hate.  There are way too many of them, and many of the murders remain unsolved.

 

TDOR2014

According to Gwendolyn Ann Smith, the founder of TDOR, “The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.”

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.

 

OCdiversityconf2014poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ 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:
http://www.kitsapgov.com/hs/humanrights/documents/2013%20HRC%20press%20release.pdf

and

http://www.kitsapgov.com/hs/humanrights/hrcboard.htm

 

~ Marcie

 

Quilt Inspired by Quote from Dr. Martin Luther King

The Kitsap Quilters quilt guild held their annual quilt show at the Presidents Hall at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds this weekend.  Since it is both diversity and quilt related I want to share with you a quilt I made that was displayed in the show.  Inspired by one of my favorite quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, one that continues to inspire me to speak up for justice.  “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Below is a picture of the quilt (18”x18”) and close ups of the embroidered quote.

Quilt inspired by quote from Dr. Martin Luther King
Quilt inspired by quote from Dr. Martin Luther King

 

 

~ 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: 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.

 

 

 

 

~ Marcie

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson at Olympic College

 

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson spoke at Olympic College this past Monday, and I came away inspired and energized.  The Olympic College Multicultural Program sponsored the event, and Dan Johnson, the Director of Multicultural & Student Programs at Olympic College, introduced Dr. Dyson.

The program title was Politics, Diversity and the Disenfranchised in America, and Dr. Dyson mentioned how fitting it was that the title “sandwiches ‘Diversity’ in between ‘Politics’ and ‘Disenfranchised.’”

Besides being an author and speaker, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson is on the faculty of the Department of Sociology at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

 

Dr. Dyson defined politics as “the fight over just distribution of vital resources to a vulnerable population in a time of crisis.”  He stressed that critical thinking is essential for all of us, so that we can sort out issues and events, put them into context and understand why people do what they do.

One of the many things Dr. Dyson said that resonated with me was: “The disenfranchisement of some is the undermining of all.”

It reminded me of something Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

We are all connected, and probably more alike than not.  Social justice is something for all of us to be concerned about because in the long run it affects us all.

A highlight of the evening for me was during the question and answer period when a white man stood up to ask a question of Dr. Dyson and mentioned that he “got down with diversity when he married a black man.”  The couple has been together for 25 years and they both got a warm response from Dr. Dyson and from the audience.

It was heartening to me to hear Dr. Dyson speak so eloquently and inclusively about diversity. Dr. Dyson has written many books, and choosing one was not easy – I bought Can You Hear Me Now, and am very much looking forward to reading it.

While he infused humor throughout the presentation, Dr. Dyson never failed to instill the audience with the gravity of the issues facing our communities.

~ Marcie

Governor Gregoire’s Moving Speech for Marriage Equality

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 support:
http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2012/jan/03/wa-gov-to-hold-news-conference-on-gay-marriage/?partner=popular

Link to another Kitsap Sun Blog post about this topic:
http://pugetsoundblogs.com/kitsap-caucus/2012/01/04/same-sex-marriage-gains-higher-profile-with-governors-backing/

Text of speech:
http://www.governor.wa.gov/speeches/speech-view.asp?SpeechSeq=222

video of press conference:
http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2012010042

 

~ Marcie

 

People Feeling Disposable

I wanted to share something written by a friend of mine (with her permission) because I think it helps explain how some folks are feeling about recent cuts, and talk of cuts, to essential services.  While there may be some who ‘game’ and cheat the system, most folks are using the systems we have in place as the safety nets they were intended to be.  Some of the people I know who rely on Social Security and Medicare were not only productive working people, they were doing key jobs that many would not have the desire or the patience to do such as working with street kids, working in a women’s prison, and being a nurse.   Through no fault of their own, they now cannot work.  Everyone has a story behind how they got to where they are, and until you have listened to their story, it is not your place to judge.

========================

Written by my friend –

THE DISPOSABLE PEOPLE

By some they are considered the disposable people. They are the homeless, the mentally ill, and the disabled. They are people who push shopping carts filled with meager belongings along cold, wet and dirty sidewalks. They are the unfed and the unbathed. They carry cardboard signs begging for help. They are preyed upon, beaten and ignored. Bearing memories that refuse to die they become but a shadow cast by all that once was.

They are the poor. Unable to stretch a meager income, they are cold and hungry. They are uninsured, living today in fear and despair. They sacrifice dignity on the altar of corporate greed.

They are the middle class. Once firm, their substance is now evaporating like water held to the fire of corporate values; a cancerous flame burning the soul of humanity. They are tethered and silenced; Victims of a powerful force shifting the boundary of morality.

They are the people not fitting the concept of “white male privilege.” They differ in race, ethnicity, values, beliefs and sexual orientation. They are treated with contempt, suspicion and denied the constitutional right of equality.

Those who consider themselves the indisposable people, represented by corporate wealth, power and greed, are with little resistance, emerging like hungry parasites from a dark pit. They are parasites with teeth gnawing on those who sleep with eyes closed in denial. Hoping whom they consider the disposable people will not awaken, they quietly fill their bellies with hopes and dreams until human values are snuffed out like a candle flame between two fingers.

Life is about compassion for our fellow human beings and about caring for the world that sustains us. Without that we have lost our humanity.

Shari Burns
2011

========================

~ Marcie