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Every time our nation has faced crisis, our national experience has shown that Americans rise to the challenge. President-elect Obama believes each of us, as Americans, has a responsibility to do what we can for our communities and fellow citizens. Our country is once again at a crossroads, and the president-elect hopes to use the occasion of his inauguration to rally our nation to commit to service in our communities.

Barack Obama is calling for a National Day of Service to take place on January 19, the federal holiday for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and the day preceding Mr. Obama's inauguration as president.

This Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Washington Democratic Party is joining with President-elect Obama in making this call to service. Visit the Renew America Together website ( to find a service opportunity or create your own.

Renew America Together is not just about stepping up to serve for a single day. It's about making a continued commitment to serving our communities throughout the year. Never has it been more important to come together as one state and one nation in shared purpose to tackle our common challenges.

Together with our next president, we are asking that you and your family, friends and neighbors sign up to volunteer on January 19, 2009 right now.

To get active in your community, please visit

Thank you very much. Together we can Renew America.


Jaxon Ravens
Executive Director
Washington State Democrats


On Tuesday, January 6, 2009, the Seattle LGBT community was reeling over letters which were sent to eleven Capitol Hill bars threatening to poison patrons with ricin. The Seattle Commission for Sexual Minorities (SCSM) stands with the LGBT community in shock over this incident. We are collaborating with the Mayor's Office, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and other government and law enforcement officials to ensure a full investigation and that clear communication makes it back to the community.

The Commission has been assured that both the Mayor's Office and the SPD are closely monitoring the investigation. On Friday, Mayor Nickels spoke with the bar owners and later that evening there was an outpouring of community support as bar patrons roved from bar to bar, in particular those threatened by the letters. Local news was on site interviewing the supporters and the SPD was present, monitoring and looking for any suspicious activity or individuals.

Our friends at the Seattle Gay News have provided a very thorough and laudable article outlining the parties involved in the investigation and they are following this closely as well. The Seattle Police Department's LGBT Advisory Council will be holding its monthly meeting on Tuesday, January 20th, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Community Room at the East Precinct Station on 12th Ave. & E. Pine St. on Capitol Hill. SPD will be updating the council on the progress that is being made to apprehend the suspect, as well as discuss how patrons can stay safe and are being protected in local establishments. Commissioners from the SCSM will be in attendance and all interested community members are invited and encouraged to attend.

As this situation must be treated as a very real threat, local bars and businesses are on high alert and are doing everything in their power to keep their patrons and employees safe. It is incumbent upon all of us to watch out for ourselves and each other. One way to be personally alert, while we are enjoying the nightlife in Seattle, is to never leave a drink unattended. The Seattle Commission for Sexual Minorities holds monthly meetings the third Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 600 4th Ave., and the public is welcome to attend to address this issue or any other topic impacting Seattle's LGBT community.

Seattle Commission for Sexual Minorities

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