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: firstname.lastname@example.org or U.S. mail:
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 ¼ 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
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!
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.
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."