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Dec 2008 Newsletter         Subscribe to this newsletter


Dec 2008

In this issue:

2008 Race Conference

Kudos Corner

Announcement
We want to hear from you! SOCR launches a new online customer feedback form

Whether your e-mail concerns a compliment, complaint, comment, or request for service, the Seattle Office for Civil Rights is committed to listening to what you have to say. After you fill out and submit your online feedback, you will receive a confirmation e-mail letting you know we have received your question and we will work to resolve any issues you have brought to our attention.

Human Rights Day Preview: Ticiang Diangson discusses Dr. Robert Bullard

Events

Seattle Human Rights Day!

Thursday, December 11th 7pm

Town Hall, Seattle

8th and Seneca
Guest speaker: Dr. Robert Bullard, author of "Confronting Environmental Racism"
To view the event flyer click here.

Community Film Screenings at SIFF Cinema

TULIA, TEXAS Saturday, January 24, 2009, 3:15PM to 5:15PM
ARUSI PERSIAN WEDDING Saturday, February 28, 2009, 3:00PM to 5:00PM

Ticiang Diangson has a personal interest in being the MC for this year's daytime event for Seattle Human Rights Day: she wants to meet this year's featured speaker, Dr. Robert Bullard. As a lifelong environmentalist, Ticiang has long followed Dr. Bullard's career, and several of his books grace her shelves.

"I've admired him from afar for years, and I'm thrilled to be able to introduce him in Seattle," says Ticiang, director of Seattle Public Utilities' (SPU) Environmental Justice and Service Equity Division, which is charged with eliminating barriers to service equities in SPU. Ticiang was one of the founders of the Community Coalition for Environmental Justice, a local grassroots organization.

Recently the E-News talked with Ticiang about Dr. Bullard, as well as her own long commitment to environmental justice.

What is the significance of Dr. Bullard's work?
TD: Robert Bullard was one of the guiding theorists when the environmental justice movement was emerging. The mainstream environmental movement has been - and still is - very white. Starting in the early 90s, Bullard began writing books and articles that gave credibility to the environmental justice movement. Without his work and influence, today's "Green Jobs" movement would not exist.

How do you define environmental justice?
TD: Environmental justice means equally distributing the risks and benefits of actions that affect the health of people and the environment. It also includes involving the affected parties in the decision making process.

What role does Seattle Public Utilities play in environmental justice?
TD: SPU plays a huge role in environmental justice. We own two pristine watersheds. We manage full service transfer stations for garbage and hazardous waste disposal, and we manage the City's recycling programs. Those services don't exist in a vacuum - we maintain close working relationships with Native tribes on water rights, and we work with local neighborhoods and communities on everything that we do. Decisions about how we renovate a transfer station, how we expand our facilities or how we communicate with our customers, many of whom are limited-English speakers - all involve questions of environmental justice

Why is environmental justice a human rights issue?
TD: Air, water and land are all human rights issues. In the U.S. many of us have always taken these things for granted. But in communities of color, clean air and clean water are not a given. I think in the Northwest, and maybe in the United States, we don't really know what's in the human rights declaration. It includes the right to promote better standards of life, including security of person and equal protection under the law. Right now, communities of color and low income communities are still fighting for better standards and equal protection for air and water and land in their neighborhoods. And it took the grass roots community and leaders like Dr. Bullard to make environmentalists and policy makers pay attention to these issues.

 


2008 Race Conference

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2008 Seattle Race Conference on Movements for Reparations: Restoring Racial Justice, Building Unity and Healing Our Diverse Communities. Congratulations to Racial Justice Award winners Mary Flowers and Soya Jung.

Below are some photos from the conference. To view more photos visit www.seattleraceconference.org . To get involved in planning the 2009 Race Conference please send an email to info@seattleraceconference.org

Dr. Ray winbush Delivers keynote address Participants listen to keynote speaker Dr. Ray Winbush John Lovchik and SOCR Director, Julie Nelson facilitate a workshop Dr. Eddie Moore delivers a workshop


Kudos Corner

We are proud of the work of all our staff. This month we have a brief story highlighting this work and a couple letters of thanks that came into the office.

Last Thursday, a customer called our office to report that his daughter's landlord would not let him (as a guest) bring his service dog to her apartment. The customer stated that his daughter would not be willing to file a charge against the landlord and asked for our help another way. Karina Bull, an investigator who is currently staffing our intake office sent a letter to the manager stating, "It has come to our attention that you might benefit from information about the fair housing laws that pertain to service animals" and included one of our resource materials, Sample Policy for Service Animals with the letter.

The next week the customer called and left a message with effusive thanks for the letter - it worked! The landlord read the policy, changed his tune and immediately allowed the customer to bring his service dog on the property. The customer thanked our office for such fast action to his request.
Great work Karina!

Dear Karina,

We wanted to let you know what a great presentation you gave us a few weeks ago. It was informative and we regret more of our group could not be there. We hope you will be willing to come again soon. Thank you for your time and your patience!

Sincerely, Susan

 


Seattle Office for Civil Rights
Julie Nelson, Director

For newsletter questions contact Brenda Anibarro, (206) 684-4514 Brenda.Anibarro@Seattle.Gov