Category Archives: Social Justice

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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

 

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.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/03/28/thousands-protest-religious-freedom-law-indy/70596032/

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.
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/seattle-mayor-prohibits-city-employees-traveling-indiana/story?id=29979438

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.
http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/28/news/companies/angies-list-indiana-gay-discrimination/

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:
2015_martin-luther-king-jr-day-service-video

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

 

~  Marcie

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