The Sophia Report (December 9 2014)
Election day has come and gone. It's time to pull in those yard signs, and prepare for the winter. Whether the people you were rooting for won or lost, the important part is that you participated in the process. This year I participated more that I have in any other, and plan to participate more next year. In what way, you are just going to have to wait one more month while I prepare for my announcement and we start solidifying plans.
This year, I was responsible for hosting the Hospitality Suite for the Stonewall Democrats. It was set up as a comforting and welcoming space where people could just come and relax to get away from it all. While some of my favorites didn't win this year, I know they will be back, and I'll be ready to support them when the time comes.
During the speeches, I was approached by a young reporter who wanted to know who I was and why I looked familiar. A thousand reasons popped into my head, and before the short conversation was over, she said that she'd be keeping an eye out for me.
Well, it's official. I have now been sworn in to the Community Council of Midvale. First order of business was reporting that the council needed more presence on social media and questioning why the city park was closed at 4 pm during the winter. I got assurances that the park will stay open til the same curfew as in the Summer and they will look at updating the crossing guards. I have also reported an unreadable street sign, a non-functioning security light and locked bathrooms in the park. I have spoken with representatives from and toured the Boys and Girls Club and the Road Home family shelter in Midvale. I am impressed with the way both the public schools and the Boys and Girls Club respect and treat transparently the needs of the homeless. The Boys and Girls Club needs opportunities to provide community service and the Road Home needs items for its transient residents. Please contact them to find out what their current needs are. While the Road Home current building is crumbling and drafty, this will be the last year that the building will be used. Next Spring, it will be torn to the ground and a new building put up that hopefully will have more privacy facilities for special needs residents. I am also looking at what it will take to put a historic marker for the old Fort Union in the Family Center area of Midvale.
Transgender Day of Remembrance
It happened again. My friend said that another friend of ours saw me on TV. It could have been either a Real Women Run event that I attended a day or two previously or the silent vigil that Transgender Education Advocates of Utah hosted at the Capitol. I found myself trying to avoid staring at the media camera in both cases. It was while I was driving through McDonald's that the attendant said she saw me on TV in the capitol.
Both events are very important, and related. Real Women Run works to encourage women to run for office by pairing them up with and getting mentoring from other women who have run and sometimes held elected position. It is the only way that women will have fair and adequate representation in the government.
Transgender Day of Remembrance--and I went to two events this year--memorialises the transgender people worldwide who have lost their lives to bigotry just because of who they are. They are murdered at a much more alarming rate than other segments of our population. The overwhelming number of transgender women of color lost points to the fact that they are marginalized in four ways: 1) for being a woman, 2) for being a person of color, 3) for being a member of the LGBT community, and 4) for being economically disadvantaged as a result. If we want to stop the brutal victimization, we must join the various diverse groups and demand respect for all of them. Only then will this amount of violence begin to be addressed.
Thanksgiving is a good time to think about who is at the table. Rev. Patty Willis of South Valley Unitarian gave a beautiful reflection using the Thanksgiving table as a metaphor for how welcoming a community is. I want to extend that metaphor to include how inclusive our families, institutions, organizations, and government is.
Think about the organizations that you are a part of. Is there room for everyone at the table? Are as many viewpoints as possible represented and counted? Are there any viewpoints that are over-represented, and, if so, who is under-represented or not represented at all?
Which tables do you feel that you are not allowed to sit at or have a voice at? Which tables do you need to have a voice at? What can be done to make sure you or someone that represents you has a voice at that table?
Finally, who is not welcome to your table and why? Is it a fair decision? How can you welcome more diversity to your table?
International LGBT Leadership Conference
I just spent a whirlwind four days in Washington, DC, listening to panels of LGBT leaders and introducing myself to a ton of people. I met Stuart Milk (Harvey's nephew), Tammy Baldwin, Annise Parker, Coco Iwamoto, Amanda Simpson, Diane Rodriguez, Bishop Gene Robinson, and the list goes on. Lots of incredible contacts and incredible content. It was fun to engage with so many people that I have placed on a pedestal and just have an ordinary conversation.
Topics ran from how to be an effective incumbent to how to address the youth homelessness crisis and religion, politics, and LGBT equality. I chatted about challenges with one individual who is an immigration reform specialist about challenges with immigration. I witnessed a protest first hand on the streets of Washington, DC, demanding justice for police officers that have taken the lives of black youth, and I stepped into the incredibly welcoming Universalist National Church at the other end of the block where I stayed. I traveled everywhere on foot and used public transportation when the destination was too far to walk. Our closing reception was held in one of the ornate caucus rooms of the capitol and the opening reception in the National Women's Democratic offices.
The cat's out of the bag, well partially. I announced my intentions to run for a specific office at the event, and am looking forward to the support that everyone I met there can provide, including Victory Fund. They have not endorsed me yet, but the pathway to endorsement was made very clear. Meanwhile back at home, I have been asked if I would seek a leadership position in the Democratic Party.
In love and service to our communities,