Humanity is like a Patchwork Quilt

Each patchwork piece contributes to holding the quilt together, yet each is unique.
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What the Supreme Court’s Historic Ruling Means to Kitsap County Couples

July 8th, 2013 by marcie

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.

http://www.lambdalegal.org/publications/after-doma-summary

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:

http://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/benefits-administration-letters/2013/13-203.pdf

~ Marcie

 


Bike to Work Day 2013

May 16th, 2013 by marcie

Of the many different types of transportation that folks use to get to work – driving, car pooling, riding the bus – only a couple will also count as your work out for the day: bicycling and walking (or running).  Friday May 17th is Bike to Work Day for 2013.  A day for bicycle commuters to honor and celebrate their healthful mode of transportation.

This year there will be a Bike to Work Day station near the Bremerton Ferry terminal from 6:00 am to 8:00 am.  If you get a chance, stop by for coffee, snacks and information.

~ Marcie

 

 


Having Fun with Pi

March 13th, 2013 by marcie

Pi Day is March 14th (3.14) so I thought I would have a little fun with it.

Pi

 
Here is a history of Pi from www.piday.org

“By measuring circular objects, it has always turned out that a circle is a little more than 3 times its width around. In the Old Testament of the Bible (1 Kings 7:23), a circular pool is referred to as being 30 cubits around, and 10 cubits across. The mathematician Archimedes used polygons with many sides to approximate circles and determined that Pi was approximately 22/7. The symbol (Greek letter “π”) was first used in 1706 by William Jones. A ‘π’ was chosen for ‘perimeter’ of circles, and the use of π became popular after it was adopted by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler in 1737. In recent years, Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits passed its decimal. Only 39 digits past the decimal are needed to accurately calculate the spherical volume of our entire universe, but because of Pi’s infinite & patternless nature, it’s a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.”

 

An interesting fact about Pi:

If you look at a mirror image of 3.14 it spells pie.

Pi spelled backwards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Pi Day everyone!

Pi -3_14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ marcie


Quilt Inspired by Quote from Dr. Martin Luther King

February 17th, 2013 by marcie

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


National Wear Red Day ® is Friday February 1st

January 29th, 2013 by marcie

Go Red for Women!

Wear Red Day Red Dress

National Wear Red Day ® is a day to raise awareness about heart disease, especially about how heart disease affects women.

Heart disease is something that hits close to home for me, in part because it runs in my family.  Even more scary to me, though, is over the last couple of years two women I know that were around my age have died from heart attacks

According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute coronary heart disease is the #1 killer of both men and women in the United States.

According to the American Heart Association:
“The fact is: Heart disease kills one in three women each year – that’s approximately one woman every minute. But it doesn’t affect all women alike, and the warning signs for women aren’t the same in men. What’s more: These facts only begin to scratch the surface.”

For information about the myths around women and heart disease go to:
http://www.goredforwomen.org/about-heart-disease/facts_about_heart_disease_in_women-sub-category/myths-about-heart-disease/

There is also a fun challenge for Wear Red Day – America Goes Red Challenge http://wearredday.goredforwomen.org/
“We’re looking for the most spirited supporters to paint the town red! Show us how you Go Red by uploading your photos from Facebook, Instagram, Flickr or your desktop in one of the categories. Let’s turn a red spotlight on America and raise awareness of the issue of heart disease in women.”

~ Marcie

 

 


Renewed thoughts about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 21st, 2013 by marcie

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


Bike to Work Day is Friday May 18th

May 15th, 2012 by marcie

One of the many aspects of diversity is how we each get to work – many of us take the bus, others drive, carpool or vanpool.  Then there are the bicycle commuters – A hardy group of folks that bicycle to work for a variety of reasons.  For some folks it is actually quicker to ride a bike than it is to drive, although this is truer in a big city than here in  County.  Saving money is another popular motivation.  However, probably the most common reason to ride into work is as part of a healthy life style.  I have always enjoyed both the challenges and the invigorating start to the day bicycle commuting provides.

This Friday, May 18th, we celebrate the bicycle commuter, and encourage others to take it up, by having Bike to Work Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you do ride your bicycle to work, please stay safe out there!

~ Marcie

 

 

 


Standing on the Side of Love

May 8th, 2012 by marcie

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


February is African American History Month

February 24th, 2012 by marcie

 

February is African American History Month

You can find national information about this month at:
http://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/

However, I want to highlight some things that relate closer to home. I found a wealth of information on the Kitsap Black Historical Society web page.  There I learned that segregation was alive and well in Kitsap County during World War II, and that Sinclair Park was an area where the residents were primarily African American.   One of the residents of Sinclair Park, Al Colvin, was also a Tuskegee Airman, and then later a Bremerton City Councilman.  He was just one of many influential African Americans in Kitsap County.
Check out their web page for more information and some pictures from that era:
http://www.kitsapblackhistory.org/

We recently lost a civil rights pioneer, and it would be remiss to talk about African American history here in Kitsap County without mentioning Lillian Walker.   She did much in Kitsap County and an article in the Kitsap Sun after her death in January highlights her accomplishments:
http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2012/jan/05/lillian-walker-the-soul-of-bremerton-dies-at-98/

A Kitsap Regional Library blog mentions that she was a founding member of the Bremerton NAACP and the Kitsap YWCA, as well as being very involved with the libraries.
http://www.krl.org/blogs/?p=434&option=com_wordpress&Itemid=100675

One of the more interesting bits of information I found online was an oral history about Lillian Walker on the Washington Secretary of State web page. Here is a quote about the project: “Proving you can make history regardless of your lot in life, Lillian Walker fought for her civil rights long before Martin Luther King Jr. professed his dream. So poor her family barely noticed the Great Depression, Lillian today is hailed as one of the important civil rights activists in Bremerton history.”

To find out more about her full and inspiring life, check out Lillian Walker’s Oral History here:
http://www.sos.wa.gov/legacyproject/oralhistories/lillianwalker/default.aspx

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 This is not from Kitsap County, but I found it noteworthy – Here is a link to a video where as part of a reading from Voices of a People’s History of the United States (Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove,), Alfre Woodard reads “Ain’t I a Woman?”, a speech delivered by abolitionist Sojourner Truth at the Women’s Convention in 1851. (February 1, 2007 at All Saints Church in Pasadena, CA.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4vr_vKsk_h8#!

 

~ Marcie


The Washington State Senate Approves Marriage Equality Bill

February 1st, 2012 by marcie

I just watched live (on TV – Thanks to TVW) as the Washington State Senate discussed and then approved the Marriage Equality bill – 28 Yeas to 21 Nays.  I was excited a week ago when enough Senators to pass the bill said that they would vote in favor, but seeing it actually happen was exciting on a whole new level.

Prior to the debate on the actual bill, there were several amendments that were discussed and voted on.  Some of the amendments that passed clarified the protections of religious organizations.  Two amendments that did not pass would have allowed non-religious organizations and businesses to discriminate, contrary to our state non-discrimination laws, and would have put the issue to the voters for approval.

There were some very moving words during the discussion of the bill.  Democratic Senator Murray explained how marriage is important because it is how society says you are a family.  Senator Hobbs mentioned that he would be drilling with fellow reserve soldiers this weekend, some of which are gay, and how could he look them in the eye if he did not vote yes on this bill.  He said “I will never leave a fallen comrade behind.”  Republican Senator Steve Litzow has some great matter-of-fact comments in favor of the bill including how the right to marry is part of the constitutional right to pursue happiness.

Now the bill moves on to the Washington State House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass, then on the Governor Gregoire to sign.  I realize there is likely to be a referendum to put this up to a vote of the people, and we will have to endure misleading statements like what one Senator against the bill said tonight – that marriage equality would create a hostile environment for those folks that support traditional marriage.  However, we will also have the opportunity to hear many more stories about how marriage equality will have a positive affect on Washington State families.

This is a huge step forward, and I am hoping the momentum continues until Washington State becomes a place where all families are valued.

~ Marcie