Inside Alice This Month!
August Membership Meeting: August 12, 2013
Co-Chair Column: Electing Democrats Matters
Alice Membership Endorsement: August 19, 2013. Come to vote!
Alice August Meeting!
Monday, August 12, 2013, 6:30 - 8:00 PM, San Francisco LGBT Center, Ceremonial Room
This Is Your Brain On Drug Policy: A Panel Discussion
Where is the war on drugs headed today? And what role will San Francisco and the LGBT community play in the war’s future escalation or resolution? Join the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club and the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club as they come together for a panel discussion on drugs, drug policies and their impact on our community.
Did you know the war on drugs began in San Francisco? We were the first city to prohibit drug use. It was 1875 and the enemy was opium. Chinatown was the battleground and banning the use of opium was aimed at controlling Chinese immigrants. When the modern war on drugs began in the 1970s, African-American communities were the targets instead. The war on drugs and years of “tough on crime” laws and “just say no” moralizing has led to a prison industry that costs tax payers billions of dollars and disproportionately locks up people of color.
The LGBT community eventually became part of the war, too. LGBT people are more likely to use illicit substances, according to public health research, and more likely to develop problematic use or addiction than our straight counterparts, yet treatment programs are often not LGBT-friendly. People with AIDS seeking medicinal marijuana to alleviate symptoms pioneered legislation in multiple states that the federal government continues to fight today.
San Francisco has been a leader in promoting better drug policies, such as syringe access for HIV prevention, medical marijuana access, and treatment instead of incarceration, but we still have more to do to undo the harms of the war on drugs here.
Learn more about the important past, present and future of the war on drugs and its impact on the LGBT community. Alice and Milk are holding a joint meeting with a panel of insightful and informative experts to discuss the issue and answer your questions.
-- Laura Thomas of the Drug Policy Alliance. Thomas serves as a deputy state director who oversees the alliance’s Model City Initiative for San Francisco.
-- Michael Siever, PhD. Michael is the former director of behavioral health services at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Stonewall Project.
-- Allen Hopper, Director of the Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Project of the ACLU of California.
Electing Democrats Matters
Alice Board, Co-Chair
As I stood with my partner/spouse/wife in the Rotunda of City Hall on June 26th at 6:30 in the morning to wait with hundreds of others to hear the Supreme Court declare our “equalness,” as Fran succinctly said later, I took in the great significance of just being at this time in this place with all these people.
As the entire political family of San Francisco, led by Mayor Lee, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, and Phyllis Lyon, descended down the stairs of the Rotunda, I thought : “Wouldn’t Harvey Milk have loved this !” As most gay people know, he took enormous pleasure in bounding up those stairs as an elected Supervisor; because he could, and he thought we should, take those great, wonderful stairs, as he became our first elected Supervisor. Here was the entire family of elected people, Mayors, Supervisors, Department Heads, Commissioners, all coming down to celebrate this moment with us.
And the second thing I thought was: Electing Democrats Matters. As we absorbed these decisions, it was clear that the fact we had elected Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris, who refused to press the case against us, was how we were granted the right to marry in California.
Then, I was very proud that I had spent the greater part of the last 20 years working with all the talented activists in the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club to elect those Democrats. While credit for this great turning point in history goes to many people in all areas of activism, I feel very good about the work we did through an LGBT focused chartered Democratic Club to seek, endorse, support and elect Democrats ONLY if they supported LGBT issues. As a Democratic Club, we ask all our candidates to respond to our questionnaires before they are endorsed. Over the years, we have ensured no candidate gets our endorsement, gay or straight, unless they back funding for AIDS/HIV projects, laws to fight discrimination against us in employment and housing, laws that protect our families and our property, and our rights to full marriage equality. Our community depends on our club to ensure our candidates support those issues. We then use the resources we have to get out the vote to elect those people.
I know that the reason the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club has grown and strengthened in power for over 40 years is because it is a Democratic Club. People join it for the clear purpose of electing Democrats to office that support LGBT issues. We provide an institution where people can learn the political skills necessary to maintain a strong voice in our government. I know that we will survive for many years to come and I know that electing Democrats matters.
Next month, our PAC Committee Co-Chairs, David Augustine and Zoe Dunning, will run our endorsement process for our November 2013 Election. Although most people will not become aware there is an election until late October, Alice members will have endorsed Democrats who support LGBT issues. Our Finance team will have produced a slate card to mail and hand out to our community, and we will all work to get out the vote in our community. We will continue to deliver candidates who deliver for us, because we know that Electing Democrats Matters and Alice Matters very much.
Alice Endorsement Vote
August 19, 2013, 6:30 PM to 8 PM, San Francisco LGBT Center, Room 301
This will be the full membership endorsement vote. All members qualified to vote per our bylaws are welcome to come and vote. The Alice Board will be meeting on August 10, 2013 from 8:30 AM - 2:00 PM with the PAC Committee--per our bylaws only Board Members may vote and attend this meeting.
Alice Board Members at Jackie Speier Fundraiser
Alice Board members (left to right) Finance Co-Chair, Lou Fischer, Joel Engardio, and Jay Cheng at Jackie Speier fundraiser, July 13, 2013.