Letters
SAFE SCHOOLS COALITION THANKS COMMUNITY

Dear George and staff of the Seattle Gay News,

On behalf of the whole Safe Schools Coalition, I'd like to thank the SGN for all your support of our showing last Sunday of It's STILL Elementary. We paid for a one-time color ad and you gave us multiple ones and B&W ads and community calendar listings. You were part of the reason that 175 people turned out on a Sunday afternoon.

We also want to thank the generous member organizations and friends of the Coalition who made the showing possible: King County, Public Health - Seattle & King County, The Respect for All Project, The Seattle Commission for Sexual Minorities, Seattle Counseling Service, Three Dollar Bill Cinema, the Washington Education Association, Urban Press and the Youth Suicide Prevention Program.

And I personally want to thank the absolutely fantastic planning committee and others who contributed to the events' success, Arnold Martin/Aleksa Manila, Ethan Blustein, Rachael Brister, Heather Carter, Gabi Clayton, Matt Dyke, Jayda Evans, Kevin Fansler, Stefanie Fox, Kathy Kaminski, Kari Kesler, Lisa Love, Jerry Painter, Jason Plourde, Kyle Rapinan, Ryan Schwartz, Heather Smith, Eric Sorlien, Helen Stillman, Jay Walls, the terrific staff of Broadway Performance Hall, our VIP panelists, Samira Abdul-Karim, Debra Chasnoff, and Scott Hirschfeld, and surprise panelist Donna Bransford (also on the panel were my colleague, Safe Schools Coalition co-chair, Frieda Takamura and myself). Thank you all. It was so fun collaborating on this.

We had in attendance college and university students; high school students; college and university faculty; K-12 teachers; other K-12 staff and administrators; parents, guardians and grandparents; and representatives of over a dozen Safe Schools Coalition member organizations. I heard lots of people making connections with one another and planning collaborative activities during the reception that followed the panel and that is exactly what coalition is all about!

Aleksa, in dedicating the event to middle schooler Lawrence King - killed last month by a classmate apparently for being Gay and gender variant - said she wished she'd been brave enough to be herself in junior high, the way Lawrence was. People are sometimes, sadly, brave without a safety net. Schools can, however, weave safety nets so that more people are able to be bravely themselves and not have to lie in order to get an education (or hold down a job). Schools are not faceless institutions. They are us. We can make it possible for people to genuinely be themselves at school without having to endure ostracization, humiliation or assault. We can make schools into places where every family feels welcome, where every educator can teach and where every child can learn, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Let's do it.

Beth Reis
Safe Schools Coalition Co-Chair



WHY IS IT? - A POEM


Why is it that a Black Man can create a tiny piece called a filament (electric light - Lewis Latimer) that allows people to see in the dark but can't be seen fit to lead a country to the true light?

Why is it that a Black Man can create an instrument (clock Benjamin Banneker) that all people use to tell time but people don't think it is time for him to run a country?

Why is it that a Black Man can design a place for the high authorities to meet in and a place for the president to live in (The Capitol and the White House - Phillip Reid, a slave, and Pierre L'Enfant), but not good enough to lead these meetings or live in himself?

Why is it that a Black Man was brilliant enough to do the first open heart surgery (Dr. Daniel Hale Williams) and show the world how to get and preserve plasma (Dr. Charles Drew), but not good enough to put a program in place where everyone can afford this surgery?

Why is it that a Black Man was creative enough to design an instrument (traffic light - Garrett Morgan) to bring multiple people (traffic) to a halt, but not seen creative enough to design a plan to bring all this unnecessary and worthless fighting between countries to a halt?

Why is it that a Black Man could create the soles (shoes - Jan Matzeliger) that people walk on everyday, but not seen good enough to fill the shoes of a bad president?

Why is it that a Black Man was smart enough and brave enough to teach himself (Fredrick Douglas & Thomas Fuller - both slaves) and others how to read, write and/or calculate math, but not seen smart enough and bold enough to calculate a platform to be President to a country that sure needs another first by us?

So you see my Brothers and Sisters what I am saying is let us not forgot our past, which led us to our present and can definitely be the backbone to our future.

We were good enough, smart enough, creative enough, and bold enough then, so let's all give Obama the chance to show that we are still these things and more. We all are as strong as our weakest link, so don't be that weak link that denies our people that chance to show we still can OVERCOME AND BE THE FIRST!

Nevin Jefferson



MOVING ON


When I learned of a close friend's passing, I felt very badly about the situation. Maybe Lord Byron's comment, "Life takes more than it gives," is true. We had celebrated life with much free abandon, chasing all kinds of discolored rainbows, with too many ups and downs always chasing Gay people in a world we believed was only meant for us.

Luckily, ago slowed us down somewhat with too many friends never saying goodbye, plus trying to recapture our lives as we discovered it takes being strong to be a survivor. Count yourselves.

Buzz Flowers Callaway