Tag Archives: civil rights

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

Why Can’t Ending Racism be an American Agenda?

Several 50-year anniversaries relating to the Civil Rights movement have been marked recently – some good and some sad.  The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington was August 28th.  Just a few days ago, September 15th, was the anniversary of the church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, where 4 young girls were killed.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech, I went to see the movie “The Butler.”  The movie reminded me of the human costs of the fight for civil rights during the 60’s and 70’s, as well as the positive changes that were made.  The anniversary of the church bombing is another reminder of the costs.

Much has been published lately on the opinion page about racism and recent events, and one letter to the editor talked about “left-wing extremists” dividing our Country with all this talk about race.

How can we honor the sacrifices made during the civil rights movement, and applaud like the folks in the theater did after the movie I attended, and not be willing to even discuss the racism still present in our society?  The problem goes beyond individual cases and situations – racism is, unfortunately, imbedded in our culture and our institutions.

I know it is daunting to think about what needs to change to make our laws, and how they are applied, truly fair and just.  But that change can start with each one of us if we recognize that transformations need to be made and start with making them happen locally.  The human rights agenda should be something we all embrace.  Why can’t ending racism be an American agenda?

MLK Quilt Quote Only












~ 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

February is African American History Month


February is African American History Month

You can find national information about this month at:

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:

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:

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.

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:

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 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.)


~ Marcie