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June 2007 Newsletter         Subscribe to this newsletter


June 2007

In this issue:

Celebration of Freedom

New Publication for People with Criminal Records

New Discrimination Protections for Veterans and Military Personnel

Staff Profiles

Announcement: We will not have a July e-newsletter. Please keep a lookout for our August issue at the end of summer. Thanks!

Coming Together to Build Community: Pride 2007

Seattle Pride Parade, June 2007

Events

Juneteenth Celebrations in Seattle/Tacoma
Juneteenth is a day of celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. See article on the history and celebration of Juneteenth.

Upcoming at
NW Film Forum

The Trials of Daryl Hunt
Sponsored by the ACLU of Washington
July 27 - August 2,
Fri - Thurs at 7 & 9:15 PM (plus Sat & Sun at 3 & 5 PM)

By Brenda Anibarro and Jacque Larrainzar, Policy and Outreach

"Without community, there is no liberation."

- Audre Lorde

The struggle for civil and human rights is too often a struggle we carry out within separate camps. Our fight against racism, sexism and homophobia often occur in distinct spheres even when on an individual level we may encompass multiple identities. Yet a movement for true social justice and a true community requires us to work together with an understanding that our liberation is connected to one another.

Our humanity can only be fully restored when all of us are treated with respect and dignity. Coming together during the Pride Festival as LGBT or straight allies is one way we can demonstrate that we stand together in this struggle for justice.

The weekend of June 23-24, thousands of people gathered in Seattle to celebrate Pride. The events were held by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and asexual community to commemorate the struggle for LGBT rights and pride. This year there have been a multitude of events to celebrate Pride.

On Saturday, June 23 rd the Seattle Commission for Sexual Minorities and Seattle Office for Civil Rights had a booth at QueerFest sponsored by the LGBT Community Center and participated in the Raise Your Voice March on Capitol Hill.

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights, Seattle Commission for Sexual Minorities, and other City departments also participated in the downtown parade on Sunday, June 24. It was a great way to come together and send a message of inclusion and mutual support to members of the LGBT community that are employed by the City as well as the broader community.

HISTORY

Most LGBT pride parades across the country take place in the middle of the year, particularly in June, to commemorate the Stonewall riots in New York City. Early in the morning of June 28, 1969, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people rioted following a police raid in Greenwich Village on the Stonewall Inn— a gay bar that was heavily patronized by people of color, including a high percentage of drag queens.

The Stonewall riots are generally considered to be the beginning of the modern LGBT rights movement, as it was the first time in modern history that a significant body of LGBT people resisted arrest. Given the population that frequented the establishment, a large percentage of the people who initially fought back were people of color.

On Sunday, June 28, 1970, the one-year anniversary of the riots, a march was organized from Greenwich Village to Central Park in New York City in commemoration of the Stonewall riots. That same weekend gay activist groups on the west coast of the United States held a march in Los Angeles and a march and 'Gay-in' in San Francisco.

From June 24 to June 30, 1974, Seattle's lesbians and gays celebrated the city's first Gay Pride Week. During the week the Gay Community Center held a grand opening and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that 200 attended a picnic at Occidental Park in Pioneer Square at the end of the week.

Coming together to march during Pride is something we can all do as organizations and individuals who believe in building a powerful movement for social justice.


Celebration of Freedom

By Felicia Yearwood-Murrell, SOCR Policy and Outreach

Maria Rodriguez Juneteenth is a day of celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States . The word Juneteenth is a combination of "June" and "nineteenth," which is recognized by many as the date that slavery ended. On June 19, 1865 , Major General Gordon Granger led Union soldiers to Galveston , Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was nearly three years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862 , notifying the states in rebellion against the Union that if they did not return to the Union by January 1, 1863 , he would declare their slaves forever free. Needless to say, the Proclamation went unheeded by those states that seceded from the Union . The Civil War continued.

During the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation had little impact in Texas due to the influence of slave holders and the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the proclamation. As a result, slavery in Texas continued to thrive. In fact, many slave owners from other slave-holding states brought their slaves to Texas to wait out the war.

With the surrender of General Robert E. Lee on April 9, 1865 , and the arrival of General Granger's 2,000 troop regiment, the Union forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. This brought about effective freedom for the last 250,000 slaves whose bondage had been essentially unaffected by Lincoln 's proclamation.

OBSERVANCE OF JUNETEENTH

For more than a century, Juneteenth was observed mainly in Texas and parts of Arkansas , Louisiana , and Oklahoma . Many former slaves and descendants made an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date. In recent decades, communities across the nation have adopted the holiday, yet Texas remains the only state to make Juneteenth a state holiday, with state offices closed.

WASHINGTON STATE OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZES JUNETEENTH

On April 17, 2007 , Governor Christine Gregoire signed H.B. 1870, making Washington the 23rd state to officially recognize Juneteenth. Like Columbus Day, Juneteenth is not a state holiday, but a Day of Remembrance.

Representative Jamie Pedersen sponsored the bill at the urging of Audrey Jernigan, Director of the Washington State National Juneteenth Observance Foundation. "It was time to celebrate with real meaning and purpose as Frederick Douglass would have wanted African Americans to do," said Jernigan. "He felt strongly that the 4 th of July was not inclusive of African Americans, and so do I. I am proud that at last all Americans can truly celebrate Juneteenth, our 'Second Independence Day.'"

To Learn More about Juneteenth:

Juneteenth: Jubilee for Freedom by June Preszler

Juneteenth: A Day to Celebrate Freedom from Slavery by Angela Leeper

Juneteenth by Natalie M. Rosinsky

Juneteenth Day by Denise M. Jordan

On the Web:

http://www.juneteenth.com/

http://www.angelo.edu/services/library/govdocs/african.htm

http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/JJ/lkj1.html

http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ref/abouttx/juneteenth.html

 


New Publication for People with Criminal Records

 

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights has put together a new brochure with important information for people with criminal records.

Employment and Housing Facts for People with Criminal Records uses a question and answer format to discuss the laws that impact people's search for employment and housing. It also explains how to restore voting rights lost after a felony conviction, and provides a list of legal resources for further assistance.

The brochure is available in the Publications section of our website at http://www.seattle.gov/civilrights/. If you have any questions or to request copies of the publication, please contact Brenda Anibarro at (206) 684-4514 or by email at Brenda.Anibarro@Seattle.Gov.

 


New Discrimination Protections for Veterans and Military Personnel

 

The Washington Legislature recently passed a bill that was signed into law by Governor Gregoire giving honorably discharged veterans and people with military status protections against discrimination.

The protections cover employment, housing and public accommodations and will be enforced by the Washington State Human Rights Commission. The new law will become effective on July 21, 2007 . 

The WSHRC will be working closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure a sound knowledge base on veterans' issues, and will conduct outreach, education, and training for covered entities and veterans' groups. For more information contact the Washington State Human Rights Commission toll free at 1-800-233-3247 or visit their website at www.hum.wa.gov


Staff Profiles

 

Maria Rodriguez

What is your position at SOCR?

I have been an administrative assistant with the Seattle Office for Civil Rights for three years. I also did an out-of-class assignment for six months as the Commission Liaison for the Seattle Women's Commission in the Policy and Outreach Division.

What do you love most about working at SOCR?

What I love most about the job is the kind of work we do and the services we provide. I love the fact that I am now in the position to help those that I see go through the same struggles that I went through years ago, and on some issues, still deal with on a daily basis. I love that I am able to offer people that we work for and work with, the services they need just to have the same opportunities that we all should have.

What are you passionate about?

I have so much passion about so many things, but the most important passion I have is being a mother again. I raised my first child (son) who will be 21 this year, as a single mother. I was still young when I had my son. I was still out there trying to find myself when all the while I was busy raising a boy to be a man. I did what I had to at the time to survive. So now that I am blessed to be a mother again of twin daughters, my main passion is to be a better mom – to show them what a better person I am for having them in my life.

 

Nolan Lim

Position: Civil Rights Analyst

What do you love most about working at SOCR?

I like working for SOCR because you get an opportunity to interact with people on a daily basis. Attempting to communicate with people of varying backgrounds and educational levels is quite a challenge that I generally enjoy. I enjoy being a neutral party in the cases I investigate. Being neutral allows me to feel good about a case whether it is no cause or reasonable cause because I know that my analysis is based on my own interpretation and application of the law. If I see there is no violation, it feels good to let the employer or housing provider know that. Likewise, if I see there is evidence of discrimination I relish the opportunity to speak with the Charging Party and explain what I have found. I also think that I work with a great team!

Who inspires you and what are you passionate about?

In terms of inspiration, I would say that my parents are my main sources of inspiration. I love being outdoors participating in various athletic activities, and I like food a lot!

 

Seattle Office for Civil Rights
Germaine Covington, Director

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