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Newsletter Archive

November 2007 Newsletter         Subscribe to this newsletter

November 2007

In this issue:

Seattle's 12th Annual Human Rights Day Celebration Plus: Presentation of the 2007 Human Rights Awards

Race Conference Brings Together Seattle's Residents

Staff Profiles

Ninth Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest sponsored by the King County Civil Rights Commission. Click here here for more info.

Registration is open for Ethnic Arts Connection! Click here for more info.

Mayor Nickels nominates Julie Nelson to head up Seattle Office for Civil Rights

Julie Nelson, Director of the Office for Civil Rights

SEATTLE - Mayor Greg Nickels announced his nomination of Julie Nelson as the new director of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR). Nickels selected Nelson after an extensive nationwide search, headed by a committee made up of community representatives and representatives from SOCRs three commissions - Sexual Minorities Commission, Seattle Womens Commission and the Human Rights Commission. Nelson has served as acting director since the retirement in June of Germaine Covington.

" Julie has a strong background not only in leadership, management, and analysis, but she also brings to the table a real commitment to civil rights and a clear understanding of the challenges ahead. As Seattles population becomes more diverse, SOCR must build on its successes and forge new paths to ensure Seattle remains an inclusive and livable city for all of our residents. I'm confident Julie can provide that leadership, " said Nickels.

Nelson has worked for the city of Seattle since 1988 with more than ten years in the Human Services Department. She also served a one-year stint as a Community Builder Fellow with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development where she worked across a four-state area to bring reason to bureaucratic regulations to widely diverse communities. As acting director of SOCR, Nelson launched a new effort to track and improve customer service, increased the accessibility of city services to immigrant and refugee communities, and provided leadership in the citys Race and Social Justice Initiative.

" Civil rights are a part of this city's promise and commitment. I am excited to lead a department that will help make equal rights and social justice a reality for everyone in Seattle," said Nelson.

Nelson received her bachelors degree in Business Administration from the University of Arizona and her masters degree in Economics from the University of Washington.

Nelson's appointment is subject to confirmation by the Seattle City Council.


Seattle's 12th Annual Human Rights Day Celebration

Thursday, December 6th

12PM-1:30PM Seattle Downtown Public Library (1000 Fourth Avenue)

7PM-9PM at Seattle's Town Hall (8th and Seneca)

Guest speaker: Kenji Yoshino, author of the book "Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Human Rights"

Plus: Presentation of the 2007 Human Rights Awards

  • Casa Latina
  • Paulina Lopez
  • Save Darfur Washington State

Light refreshments and ASL interpretation
Free and open to the public.

The Seattle Human Rights Day Celebration is an annual event honoring local individuals and organizations working to advance human rights for Seattle's residents. In 1950 the United Nations General Assembly chose December 10th as the official date of observance of the 1948 passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The annual Human Rights Day celebration is an opportunity to renew our commitment to human rights in our city, country and around the world.

Author Kenji Yoshino is Guido Calabresi Professor of law and former Deputy Dean at Yale Law School. A specialist in constitutional law, anti-discrimination law, and law and literature, he has published work in The Advocate, The Boston Globe, The Nation, The New York Times, Slate, The Village Voice, The Washington Post and in a wide variety of academic journals. In addition to his gift for writing and his work as a legal scholar, he is a compelling speaker who is not to be missed.

Human Rights Day is sponsored by the Seattle Office for Civil Rights, the Seattle Human Rights Commission, the Washington State Bar Association, the Pride Foundation, Q Law, Seattle University School of Law, the Greater Seattle Business Association, the Seattle Commission for Sexual Minorities, Seattle Human Services Department, Seattle Fire Department, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, First Place Schools, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, United Nations Association Seattle Chapter, Youth for Human Rights and Seattle Gay News. For more information please call (206) 684-4500 or visit for a flyer and press release. To read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights visit


Race Conference Brings Together Seattle's Residents

By Brenda Anibarro, Policy and Outreach

Hundreds of people came together on Saturday, November 3rd at the Seattle Center for the 5th annual Seattle Race Conference.

Filmmaker - Marco Williams discusses the issue of reparations raised in his film Banished UW Professor James Gregory gives a presentation on Seattle's segregated history

This year's conference centered on the theme "The Legacies of Racism In our Neighborhoods." The event offered participants the opportunity to learn about the history of racial segregation and discrimination in Seattle. The conference also included time for community organizers to share lessons learned in their work for racial justice, and a nuts and bolts workshop on how to challenge racism in our communities today.

Dustin Washington, John Paige and Martin Friedman deliver a workshop on challenging racism in our neighborhoods

Attendees got to know each other during the break-out sessions and many groups have decided to continue meeting to work on racial justice in their own neighborhoods and communities. The conference closed with inspiring performances by April Flores and Breauna Reese from the Power of Hope.

Martin Friedman and colleague lead a break-out session 
  K.L. Shannon, Bob Santos, Germaine Covington, Delila Leber, and Carlos Marentes (Pictured left to right) share their wisdom during the Road to Racial Justice Panel. Phil Lane Jr. and Athena Zammitt also participated on the panel.

The Seattle Race Conference is an annual conference put together by a grassroots group of community organizations in partnership with the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle and the Seattle Office for Civil Rights. To get involved with the Seattle Race Conference email or call (206) 448-9000.


Staff Profiles

Merle Weiss

What is your position at SOCR?


Who inspires you most?

People who work for justice who can face terrible situations and yet remain calm and resolute, able to process counter information in the situation and yet not back off, who can take stands that are risky. Many ordinary people have this inner strength. I strive for it.


Rosalinda Hoskins

What is your role at SOCR?

I am serving in an out-of-class opportunity as the Seattle Human Rights Commission and Seattle Commission for Sexual Minorities staff analyst and liaison. Otherwise, I am an Administrative Specialist who is committed to excellent customer service and coordinating the needs of our staff as well as every person who walks through our doors. I am also a member of SOCR's Change Team in support of the Race and Social Justice Initiative.

What do you love most about working at SOCR?

I get to help people in just about every aspect of life when they either call or visit our office. Everyday I come to work knowing I will learn or hear something new. My co-workers are wonderfully supportive and I enjoy working with them immensely. I can truly say this is the best place I have ever worked! Our office holds cultural luncheons which allow us to get to know one another even more closely and share our ethnic diversities.

What inspires you and what are you passionate about?

My daughter Amber is my inspiration. I think about her when I am working toward making changes for a better future. I am also inspired by changes in social awareness, whether I hear about it personally or in the media. I keep my eyes and ears open for things that would also inspire my daughter who is very interested in the work we do here. She shares her thoughts and opinions with classmates and I think that's a beautiful thing. I am also passionate about growing plants and creating hand-made gifts. Currently, I am driving my housemates crazy by forcing bulbs to bloom in every available patch of sunlight. I am also nicknamed "The Stitcher" because I am doing a lot of needlepoint gifts this year. Another passion I have to mention is my love for animals. I appreciate all animals, but I love dogs with all of my heart. I only have a Siamese fighting fish at the moment, but he is a Lover, not a Fighter ~ just like me.


Seattle Office for Civil Rights
Julie Nelson, Director

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