Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Do you read Mark Morford? Hate's last stand

Let's not get carried away. (... snip)

Let's not be naive. ... (... snip)

Maybe you're not convinced. Maybe you need a sign, some sort of indicator of what's truly at stake, something that proves we are at a turning point not merely of tax brackets and energy strategy and foreign policy, but of the very tone and flavor of who we are and what we value as a nation. Yes? Easy enough.

Here it is: Just listen to the screaming.
Please read:
Hate's last stand
It's racism and homophobia, neck and neck, down to the wire. Can they hang on?

by Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm on the east coast of the US

Hi everyone.

This is just a quick note to say I am in 'the other Washington' (DC) for the national safe schools roundtable convening, representing Safe Schools Coalition.

I arrived on Tuesday and spent the night at my friend Cynthia's house and it was great to see her again. Then a ride on the DC metro (great transport system) and checked into the hotel. Then I got to hang out with another old friend Dave who I last saw when we were here in 2000. That was fun!

Meetings started last night, and go all day today. And I FINALLY get to meet Lisa Weiner-Mafuz in person! She is on the board of FUAH -- and we have known each other, been good friends and worked together for about 10-12 years - and have never been in the same space in time, but today that changes as she is going to be presenting at the meeting. YAY!

More on the trip later. I need to shut down this machine and head out for the start of the convening and breakfast.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Today is National Coming Out Day

For some reason I am looking back at some old things today that relate to coming out.

It's not the same, but parents and straight allies come out to.

In Everyday Out
(originally published in GayPlace Online in 1997) I wrote with Catherine's help:
Public speaking does not come natural and easy for me, and it took a lot of preparation and energy from me and from my family. I am happy to say that the bill died in committee.

For me, that kind of being "out" is the company-coming-to-dinner kind with time to prepare and put on my best, like the "company china" my mom kept that she only used on special occasions. And then there are the "everyday dishes" -- those opportunities that pop up in our lives unplanned and unexpected. The kind that if you stop to think too long, the opportunity will be lost.
And the last line in Encircled By My Heritage, which I wrote in 1988 when I was a senior in college, is:
In some ways, that experience (the whole time in the deep south) has been the closest I have come to a personal understanding of what it feels like to live in the closet, and how very hard that can be on the soul.
Read more about National Coming Out Day

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gwen Ifill portrayed by Queen Latifah and blown off by Sarah Palin

The Huffington Post | October 5, 2008
Rachel Weiner wrote: Ifill: Palin "Blew Me Off"
On "Meet the Press" Sunday morning, vice presidential debate moderator Gwen Ifill said Palin "more than ignored" some of her questions -- she "blew me off." She added that Palin decided to "give a stump speech" instead of a debate, and that there's "little a moderator can do" to stop that. Watch:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

An invitation from Cindy Corrie. Peace Works Conference - Oct. 17-19

Note from Gabi ~ I won't be able to be at this wonderful event this year because I'll be in Washington DC then, but I did want to let everyone know.

Peace Works Conference

Focus on Iraq and Palestine Occupations, Oct. 17-19
Register Now!

Dear Former Peace Works Conference Attendees:

The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice is sponsoring its third annual Peace Works event, Dual Occupations: Sovereignty and Freedom from Iraq to Palestine, October 17-19, in Olympia, Washington. This multi-generational conference will bring together journalists, scholars, peace organizers, Iraq veterans, and community leaders to deepen understanding of foreign military occupation in the Middle East and to connect those who work for justice and an end to occupation and war.

The three-day conference centered at The Evergreen State College Longhouse, will include panel discussions, workshops and cultural events, that provide a forum for bridging communities, acknowledging differences, and building broader and more effective coalitions for peace and justice. The conference will feature talks on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, women and war, personal witness of occupation, peace curriculum for middle and secondary teachers, art and media activism, organizing with veterans and military families, and other topics.

Conference speakers include:
  • Phyllis Bennis – Fellow of the Institute of Policy Studies and the Transnational Institute
  • Haj Sami Sadiq Subaih – Palestinian Mayor of West Bank village targeted for demolition
  • Adam Shapiro – Filmmaker and co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement
  • Dahlia Wasfi – Iraqi-American activist whose childhood was spent in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq
  • Dr. Simona Sharoni – Israeli scholar, researcher and activist and Professor of Women’s Studies
  • Representatives of Iraq Veterans Against the War and G.I. Voice
  • Zoriah Miller – award-winning photojournalist in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip
  • Dr. Steve Niva – author and Professor of Middle East Studies and International Politics
  • Dr. Bill Dienst – Emergency room physician and recent passenger on a Free Gaza boat
  • Dr. Rula Awwad-Rafferty – Palestinian Professor of Architecture and Sustainable Communities
  • Dr. Susan Greene – artist/activist, clinical psychologist and co-founder of Break the Silence Mural Project
Friday, October 17th, 7:30 pm at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies will give the conference keynote address, “The Presidential Elections and the Future of the Middle East.” This will be followed by a roundtable discussion with Palestinian Mayor Haj Sami Sadiq Subaih and Iraqi-American activist Dahlia Wasfi. Tickets for this event are available to the general public through the Washington Center for the Performing Arts at or at (360) 753-8585.

Saturday, October 18th, a conference party with spoken word performance, Palestinian hip-hop film, and a DJ dance party will begin at 8:00 pm in the Old K Records Loft at the corner of 5th and Cherry, above Fishtail Ales in downtown Olympia. Tickets for the general public are available at the door for $5.

The Peace Works Conference is sponsored by the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice and the (Re) Imagining the Middle East Program at The Evergreen State College.

For registration, an expanding list of speakers, and a full conference schedule, go to, email, or call (360) 754-3998. Special rates are available for students, low-income participants, veterans and military families, and K-12 teachers. Our hosts, The Evergreen State College faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend all Friday sessions free of charge.

We have so appreciated your interest and support for our previous events, and we apologize for this late notice. We hope that many of you may still be able to join us in the important discussion about how we can best work together to address these vital issues. Please forward widely.

Cindy Corrie


Thanks, Cindy! It sounds excellent. I wish I could be in two places at the same time. ~ Gabi

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Wednesday, September 24, 2008. Officials of a small Christian university say a life-size cardboard reproduction of American's first major party presidential candidate hung from a tree on the campus.

See: Oregon school says 4 confessed to Obama effigy
Can we talk??????????
Join us for the first in a series of community conversations about race,

Monday, October 20, 2008, 7-9pm.

The Olympia Center
222 Columbia St NW; Olympia, WA 98501

Free and open to the public. Sponsored by Unity in the Community, a Thurston County grass-roots organization dedicated to celebration and furtherance of diversity and opposed to all the dynamics that lead to hate crimes. Though these conversations are inspired by the historic occasion of America's first major presidential candidate of color, the effort, like Unity itself, is non-partisan in every sense.

Join us for honest, respectful, moderated conversations with every corner of our community as we broach the subject of race together. Diverse and articulate panelists will highlight the conversations, but all present will have an opportunity to address the issues we rarely address - though we sorely need to.

More detailed information:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008. Officials of a small Christian university say a life-size cardboard reproduction of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was hung from a tree on the campus

During this historic election season, issues of race in America have come powerfully into focus. Unity in the Community is sponsoring a series of candid, open and respectful community dialogues about how we experience race -- in our community and our country. The purpose of this public dialogue is to provide organized, respectful local forums where understanding between the diverse elements of our community is deepened.

Unity in the Community is a grass-roots organization dedicated to celebration and furtherance of diversity and opposed to all the dynamics that lead to hate crimes.

Though we are inspired by the historic occasion of America’s first major presidential candidate of color, the effort, like Unity itself, is non-partisan in every sense.

GOALS: Race sorely needs understanding and language, but we rarely engage in such discussions, and almost never outside our own cohort groups. The goal of this project is the intrinsic value of people meeting each other, learning and sharing information and experience that we have on the many questions of race. We will expand our human vocabularies in this fashion, gain fluency in issues others experience, and have that fluency and network available when the next race-related crisis arises. The goal is NOT to recruit for a political party, or a candidate, or even to generate new community activists.

GROUND RULES: The planned conversations should be (1) honest, which may mean difficult things are said and heard, and conversations that are (2) safe, in that all present are respected, diverse opinions can be expressed without attacking each other. The essential grounds rules are that all are treated with respect, no name-calling, no rudeness, share the air-waves, carry forth the discussion in a positive manner. Though all present are participants, panelists will focus the topic of the discussion.

FORMAT: Aside from the ground rules, there are not qualifying criteria for participation, such as a requirement to participate in a minimum number of conversations. At the close of each conversation, topics for future discussions (and venues) would be solicited from the participants.
  • What are we learning about ourselves with a Black candidate for president? Are we learning things we’re not willing to say?
  • What is "politically correct" in discussing race? Is that pejorative? Is it absurd? Why does sensitivity in language provoke backlash? How does that differ from simply being respectful of others? (Related - our language/oppression/racism tends to be worse when we’re with our own kind. Why? What can we do about that?)
  • Why is there not more minority representation in power positions? Why does it matter to have minority representation? Why is there not more civic engagement in some of the communities of color? What inhibits racial minorities from stepping forward? For example, the numerical representation of Latinos and Asian/Pacific Americans in Washington is far larger than the African-American proportionate representation. What are the reasons for that?
  • Race in our schools/generational attitudes towards race. High school and middle school students today include many more students of mixed race than during the school days of people of middle age and older. A discussion of race with high school students and adults, including seniors, could compare and explore this evolution.
  • Ally-ship. What are examples of successful alliances between racial and other groups?
  • In our country’s racial paradigm, the power position is occupied by affluent straight white men. If people with such profiles are sensitized to their privilege, how can they properly ally with those not in that profile? By feeling guilty? What is a positive model of honorable roles for people in power positions? What do we want the white man to do?
  • Race and religion. People tend to worship with their own racial/cultural groups. Does this mean that communities of faith are primarily grounded in cultural and racial commonalities, rather than eternal truths?
Information # (360) 791-3295.

Olympia Unity in the Community