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September 2007 Newsletter         Subscribe to this newsletter


September 2007

In this issue:

Paddle To Lummi a Journey for Cultural Survival

Project Civic Access

Police Accountability Review Panel

Join the Heart Walk

Announcement: New ADA Resource

Staff Profiles

Kudos Corner

Seattle Women's Commission Summit: Bringing Women Together

Womens Summit, October 2007

Events

Save the Date! Seattle Women's Commission Summit

Save the Date! 2007 Seattle Race Conference SAVE THE DATE!
Seattle Race Conference 2007
Saturday, November 3rd
Seattle Center, Northwest Rooms
More info soon at www.seattleraceconference.org or call (206) 448-9000.

Save the Date! Seattle's 12th Annual Human Rights Day

By Felicia Yearwood-Murrell, SOCR Policy and Outreach

The Seattle Women's Commission will convene its fourth biennial Summit at Seattle University's Pigott Hall on Saturday, October 6, 2007, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Keynote speakers will be State Representative and State Democratic Majority Whip Sharon Tomiko Santos and Kristen Rowe-Finkbeiner, author of the award winning book, The F-Word: Feminism in Jeopardy--Women, Politics, and the Future," and co-founder and Executive Director of MomsRising.org..

The Summit brings together women and men from the Greater Seattle area to discuss issues that matter to Seattle women through dynamic workshops, facilitated discussions, and an interactive resource fair. The Summit helps participants develop skills to advocate effectively for women's issues through trainings on communication, advocacy, and leadership. Workshop sessions highlight a variety of issues of importance to women including economics, leadership, health, advocacy, violence against women, and race and social justice.

The role of the Seattle Women's Commission is to identify and recommend policy, legislation, programs, and budget items concerning women to Seattle's Mayor, City Council, and City Departments. The information shared at the Summit will guide the Seattle Women's Commission on its annual work plan and directly inform its policy recommendations.


Paddle To Lummi a Journey for Cultural Survival

By Jacque Larrainzar, SOCR Policy and Outreach

Photo by Jeff Smith AFSC

"This is a different world, you need to pay attention, the rules are different (in the water) here you cannot stand alone, to survive we need each other" -Mike Evans, Skipper and head of the Blue Heron Family Canoes

It is July 30th, 2007 the songs and drums of the many nations gathered for the tribal canoe journey to Lummi fill the air. I have just paddled 107 nautical miles for seven days to be here and I am ready to be part of the first potlatch in Lummi since 1937.

The Canoe Journey experience is a mixture: excitement, exhilaration to be on the water, communing with nature, spiritual renewal, endurance tests, hard work, fun, food and celebration. It is not a vacation in any sense of the word--it is a JOURNEY.

The trip is a drug and alcohol-free event and a time for the youth of the Tribes to learn the old ways--a return to traditions. For me it was a journey that reminded me why I work to end racism and for social justice.

A month before, Jeff Smith, Director of the Indian Program from the American Friend Service Committee had put me in touch with Mike Evans, skipper and head of the Blue Heron Family Canoes. Mike, who is fluent in the Puget Salish, also known as Lushootseed, the language of the First People of Puget Sound, the language of his ancestors, greeted me at a paddling practice at Alki beach. I had my first taste of this journey. I paddled for three hours in the rain. I was cold, wet, hungry and wondering if I had in me what it would take to paddle 107 nautical miles to Lummi Island.

The Journey begins from various locations of Washington, British Columbia, Oregon and Alaska-from as far away as the Aleutian Islands. I started from Bainbridge Island. The first day I pulled 20 miles, from Suquamish to Mukilteo. I soon realized that to get to Lummi we would need much more than canoes, pullers, and paddles, or muscle.

Lummi Elders believe that through canoe-pulling, we achieve perfect harmony and balance. This is schelangen, schelangen represents all that must be preserved, protected and taught, the Lummi way of life. That night I understood: In our fight to end racism, and advance social justice we cannot stand alone. We need each other. We need our traditions, knowledge, history, power and identity. Through practicing and preserving these principles we can build a path to our future and create a place where we and future generations can thrive.


Project Civic Access

By Gregory Bell, SOCR Policy and Outreach

For two weeks in July an audit team from Project Civic Access of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) performed site visits at city of Seattle facilities. The DOJ's Disability Rights Section (DRS) sends teams of experts across the country to determine accessibility and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

"Access to civic life is a fundamental part of American society," states the DOJ Fact Sheet on Project Civic Access. DRS initiates reviews of local and state government programs and facilities and develops technical assistance materials so communities can work toward full compliance with the requirements of Title II of the ADA. The project now includes 155 settlement agreements with 144 localities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

While here in Seattle, the audit team reviewed numerous programs and facilities. After completing its review, the audit team will work with the Law Department to resolve any outstanding issues. The DOJ, in conjunction with Mayor Nickels and the local U.S. Attorney, may have a joint press conference to announce the findings of the audit and to address remedies.

For more information on this matter, contact ADA Specialist Greg Bell at (206) 685-0490 or consult the DOJ Project Civic Access website.


Police Accountability Review Panel

On June 29, 2007, Mayor Greg Nickels appointed the Police Accountability Review Panel. This 11-member panel will review Seattle's police accountability system and recommend improvements. In November, the panel members will deliver a report to Mayor Nickels.

During its review, the panel members are seeking public comment on the structure and processes of Seattle's police accountability system as well as personal experiences with the Office of Professional Accountability. Please attend the September 10 meeting to share your thoughts. The meeting will be held between 6:30 and 9:00 p.m. at the Bertha Knight Landes Room, 1st Floor, Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave. You can sign up to comment beginning at 6 p.m. If you are unable to attend this meeting, you can provide written comments to the panel via e-mail: pareviewpanel@seattle.gov or U.S. mail: 

Bob Scales 2007 Police Accountability & Review Panel Support
City of Seattle, Office of Policy & Management
P.O. Box 94745
Seattle, WA 98124-4745

This is your opportunity to share your thoughts on Seattle's police accountability system directly with the panelists. The panel represents a wide range of perspectives, and we hope to hear from a variety of community members. This input will be invaluable as the panel moves forward with its review.

If you plan to attend the meeting and will need interpretation services, please contact Julie Johnson at 206-684-0181 by Aug. 30 to request these services. The meeting will be taped by the Seattle Channel and the video will be available online at the panel's Web site: www.seattle.gov/policeaccountabilityreviewpanel


Join the Heart Walk

By Gregory Bell, SOCR Policy and Outreach

October 6th is the date set for the American Heart Association's annual 5k Heart Walk. Eddie Ferrer and Greg Bell are SOCR's team co-captains. Whether you show up and walk, or whether you offer to support a walker, anything you do will help.

The Heart Walk will take place October 6th from 8:30am -- 12:00pm at Qwest Field.

In deciding to participate in the Heart Walk, I'd like you to consider this story of a parent with a child born with a heart defect. The child was African American, and with the particular defect she had, one of the early warning signs was masked by her skin color. When her parents realized something was wrong they rushed her to Children's Hospital at 5 a.m., only to find that she was now in critical condition and in full respiratory, renal, circulatory and neurological distress. They were to find out 6 hours later that their daughter had a heart defect so rare that only 100 kids are born a year in America with this problem. And that the heart surgery required to repair the defect was so new that Children's Hospital had only done it once before; it didn't exist three years earlier. Over the next 13 days the medical staff prepared for the surgery while telling the parents that there is a far greater chance that their child will not survive the surgery than the chance of success. Their daughter was baptized in the ICU by a pastor wearing full medical scrubs. When the operation took place every cardiac surgeon at Children's Hospital was in the operating room, learning how the procedure was to be done. The operation took 4 hours out of the scheduled six hours. It was a success, but another 21 days in the hospital, many long months of injections, monitoring and appointments were still required for the child to lead as normal a life as possible.

That young girl is my daughter, Marian Bell, and the procedure used to save her life was partially funded by AHA, which gets two thirds of their operating funds from Heart Walks around the county.

It is why I will be in Heart Walks for a long time coming. To find out more about the Heart Walk visit www.americanheart.org or call Marissa Hull at (206) 632-6881.


Announcement: New ADA Resource

 

The Census Bureau's Facts for Features page highlights statistics from the Census Bureau's demographic and economic subject areas intended to commemorate anniversaries or observances or to provide background information for topics in the news. A recent addition to the feature is statistics on the American with Disabilities Act. To visit the site click on statistics on the American with Disabilities Act


Staff Profiles

Judi having just received an ulos, a traditional Indonesian 
scarf given on special occasions, from the women in a micro-credit 
cooperative in a small mountain village in North Sumatra. Judi Krabill

What is your role at SOCR?

My role in the Seattle Office for Civil Rights is that of Human Resources, Finance and Administrative Manager. In addition to handling the human resources functions and the approximate $2.2 million annual budget, I manage the information technology unit and our team of administrative professionals. I was privileged to be chosen as a part of the Mayor's Race and Social Justice Core Team to work within City departments to learn to identify and strive to eliminate institutionalized racism. I continue to use these skills on City workgroups and externally in my volunteer work.

What do you love most about working at SOCR?

I love the variety of the work, the dedication of my co-workers, the extremely cool services we provide to help people fight discrimination, and the fact that every day I come to work, I feel like I'm making a difference in the world.

What are you passionate about?

In 2005, I was privileged to travel to Kenya with Women's Enterprises International (WEI) and my life was changed forever by the amazing women I met. I came home and opened a small jewelry business, with a minimum of 1/3 of the sales going back to help the women there in their efforts to get clean water, education for their daughters (sons get education) and income generation projects like bee keeping, chicken and goat rearing and planting trees to reforest the land. I also joined the Board of WEI which now also works in Guatemala, Bolivia, Benin and Indonesia, where I traveled earlier this year to help deliver two water buffaloes and ten baby piglets to a small mountain village. Oh my but it has made my life exciting!

 

Gregory Bell

What is your role at SOCR?

I handle the day to day work surrounding the City's Title VI plan, which is a requirement for the receipt of federal funds from the Department of Transportation. I also serve as the Title II Coordinator of the ADA and deal with the public on matters of accessibility, while providing technical assistance to City agencies/individuals.

What do you love most about working at SOCR?

I get to work with some great people all throughout the office. I get to help real people who have real problems.

Who inspires you and what are you passionate about?

I have been inspired by many people. I have and will always feel that one of the greatest people of the last century was so humble that his role in history is often overlooked. Yet Thurgood Marshall was the "quiet giant" of the Civil Rights era and was involved in many of the Civil Rights Movement's greatest accomplishments. Another person who inspires me is the late Formula One driver Ayrton Senna di Silva, who many feel is the greatest Formula One driver of all time. While he was an indomitable force in a race car, he quietly built and led a charitable foundation that caters solely to the educational, nutritional and security needs of Sao Paolo's poorest children. Although he died in 1994, his foundation lives on, providing $12 million in aid and support last year alone. In time, he may be more known for his philanthropy than his racing achievements.

Last but not least, I am inspired by Chenelle, Nolan, Anita, Ameya, Karina, Brenda and all of the other young people in the office who have taken up the banner of fairness and are working to prevent discrimination.

 


Kudos Corner

 

SOCR is proud to receive letters in support of our staff and the services they provide. Kudos goes to Darlene Flynn's continual great work providing anti-racism training for City employees. She received the following email from a participant in one of her trainings:

"I wanted to thank you both once again for an exceptional training. You provided a safe place to discuss very sensitive issues and then showed us how to do it in a very caring and genuine fashion. I got the sense that everyone was a little sad the day came to an end. I think you have struck on a model that is unique, effective, and instills reflection."

Seattle Office for Civil Rights
Julie Nelson, Director

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