Inside Alice This Month!
- April Membership Event: Membership Meeting, May 12, 2014, 6:30 - 8 PM
- Co-Chair Column: Identifying and calling out discrimination is not bullying, and it does not violate the First Amendment.
- The Alice Slate! Vote June 3, 2014!
- LGBT Aging at the Golden Gate by Michael Costa
- Alice Endorsement: Yes on A
- Save the Date! 2014 Alice Pride Breakfast
- It's FIELD Season!
- Alice is Riding in 2014 AIDS Lifecycle!
- April Recap
May Membership Event
May 12, 2014 6:30 PM - 8 PM
LGBT Center, 1800 Market Street
Drug Policy 2.0
Last summer both Alice and Milk held a forum on drug policy entitled This is Your Brain on Drug Policy . The primary aim of that discussion was to to educate folks on the current state of drug policy and how it has affected our community. The timing of that discussion could not have been better. On the exact same day of our forum, US Attorney General Eric Holder was in town giving the keynote address to the national BAR Association Convention. During his address he discussed the ramifications of the Drug War and how it has taken a toll on families, communities, and the criminal justice system. AG Holder clearly outlined his policy changes during his address and those policies are now being executed. But what steps can we take locally to confront the fallout from these misguided policy initiatives? This will be the thrust of our Part 2.0 discussion. During this program we'll focus on three components of the drug policy debate: 1) Marijuana legalization and its implications, 2) Supporting the formulation of an over-the-counter version of naloxone, (an antidote to heroin and oxycontin overdose), and 3) How prescription drug abuse has changed the profile of the modern day drug user.
Please join Alice and Milk for what promises to be a lively discussion that will result in recommended actionable items to help remedy and confront failed drug policies of the past, policies that still affect the local LGBT community, et al., today. Laura Thomas, Co-President of the Milk Club and who also holds the title of Deputy State Director, Drug Policy Alliance, will be on hand to help direct and outline the action items necessary to support smart, science based drug policy. We look forward to seeing you and entertaining your thoughts and ideas around this very important issue affecting our community.
Co-Chair Column: Identifying and calling out discrimination is not bullying, and it does not violate the First Amendment.
Alice Board, Co-Chair
Last month, Brendan Eich resigned as CEO of Mozilla following the public disclosure of his financial support in 2008 of California's ban on marriage for same-sex couples, Prop 8. Many on the right, and some on the left, argued that his resignation showed that LGBT activists are intolerant bullies. Others argued that Mr. Eich’s First Amendment right of free speech was violated. Both arguments are wrong.
It really is difficult to say that Mr. Eich was bullied. Bullying happens when someone with power inflicts physical or psychological harm on someone without power. The non gender-conforming child who is ridiculed and sits alone – while teachers do nothing, or worse, join in – is a victim of bullying. The young woman who faces endless taunts from her male colleagues about her appearance, or who faces physical or psychological abuse from her partner, is a victim of bullying. The person-of-color who joins an all-white workforce only to be ostracized, ignored and ridiculed, is a victim of bullying. The CEO who is called to answer for his statement that some in his community – either those who work for him, or those who use his company’s product – are less worthy of respect than others, is not a victim of bullying. Mr. Eich was not powerless. He CEO of a technology company. He had a PR staff at his disposal. He was very capable of defending himself against arguments that he was a bigot. He could have met his critics head on. He was invited to do so. He chose not to. More on that later.
As to intolerance, the argument goes that the LGBT Community is intolerant of those who do not fall into line supporting our rights. Wow. I see it differently. For years, the LGBT Community, as well as other minority communities, has argued that diversity is a value in and of itself, and that intolerance stifles diversity. Valuing diversity affirms the inherent dignity of every person, and recognizes that every community - LGBT, ethnic, racial, religious (or atheist), gender, socio-economic status – adds value to our society as a whole. To ensure that diverse communities have the ability to survive, even thrive, we need majority communities to “tolerate” differences. Without such a demand, the majority would simply overwhelm minority communities. That is an entirely different thing than demanding that every idea has inherent dignity and adds value to our society. The “idea” that Mr. Eich financially supported was that the LGBT Community does not deserve the rights or the dignity that accompany marriage. He advocated taking away rights from a minority community. No theory of “tolerance” requires that we accept “ideas” whose aims are to take away our rights.
To argue that Mr. Eich’s First Amendment right of free speech was violated misses the point. The First Amendment prohibits the government from “abridging the freedom of speech.” Obviously, the employees and users of Mozilla are not the government. More to the point, they were acting exactly as the drafters of First Amendment assumed they would. Then, differing ideas went to the town square and were debated – about taxation, about representation, about slavery, about the ideas of the day. The First Amendment was not penned to protect those putting forth ideas from being criticized in the town square, but instead to allow that debate to occur. Today’s town square involves blogs, cable news, and social media. Mozilla’s target customer is not a person who desires a uniform world that favors straight people over LGBT people, but instead its mission is to create a “global community of technologists, thinkers and builders working together to keep the Internet alive and accessible, so people worldwide can be informed contributors and creators of the Web.” Its mission is to allow everyone into the town square! It is no wonder that the Mozilla community took issue with Mr. Eich’s position. He could have explained his decision to give to Prop. 8. He could have renounced it. He could have affirmed it, and argued it was right. He chose to avoid it. And the town square rejected his idea. Mr. Eich was “forced” to resign not due to “intolerant gays” but because the very community his company is trying to create – participants in a global town square – rejected his intolerance.
That is not to say that we do not need to be careful to allow respectful debate about ideas. That is what we do at Alice, we invite both sides of issues to discuss ideas, then we discuss ideas, and then we decide. But sometimes there is no real debate to be had. Advocating that the LGBT Community deserves fewer rights than others is not a debate we need to engage in. That does not make us bullies, or intolerant, or violators of the First Amendment. It makes us advocates
LGBT Aging at the Golden Gate
Finance Committee, Emeritus
In late March the LGBT Aging Policy Taskforce made final recommendations to the Board of Supervisors for policies and programs addressing issues facing LGBT Seniors in San Francisco. We had two major goals as a Taskforce: recommendations had to address the most important issues facing the aging LGBT community, and they needed to help LGBT Seniors “age in community” - remain in their home and outside institutional settings as long as possible.
The Taskforce relied on previous studies, informal interviews with diverse stakeholders, and a major original study sponsored by the Taskforce, to generate a broadbased up to the minute pulse of the aging LGBT community in San Francisco - a great way to produce actionable, practical, and useful recommendations.
Supervisors David Campos and Scott Wiener, who originally sponsored the Taskforce along with then Supervisor Christina Olague, held a hearing in early April to hear from Taskforce members and the public, and to outline the next steps to implement Taskforce recommendations. Toward that end, Supervisor Wiener is currently working with the city attorney to draft ordinances that provide for:
- Mandatory data collection on gender identity and sexual orientation for all city departments and contractors whenever other demographic data is already collected. Disclosure would be voluntary.
- Enhancing “Cultural Competency” by:
- Requiring training regarding LGBT culture for all city departments and city contractors interacting with LGBT seniors, adding compliance with this training to the evaluation process by which contracts are awarded, as well as publishing a list of non-complying contractors;
- Having the Dept. of Human Resources create new training materials and propose an approach to implement the new training requirement, with the assistance of both SFHRC and DAAS;
- Eliminating bias in Senior Care Facilities through legal prohibition, increased Ombudsman staffing, and creation of materials that can be used for training purposes.
Supervisor Campos is currently working on legislation that addresses the 800 pound gorilla affecting every San Franciscan - affordable housing - that will include many of the following Taskforce recommendations:
- Eviction prevention protections be improved through a combination of: rental and homeowner assistance, legal services, and increased restrictions on evictions where possible
- Increased availability of/access to affordable housing be achieved by prioritizing housing developments targeting LGBT seniors, as well as including LGBT seniors in planning processes and LGBT targeted housing counseling and assistance programs;
- Improving conditions in apartments and Single Room Occupancy (SRO) units by increasing Building Dept inspections and enforcement; and
- Addressing the treatment of LGBT Seniors in city shelters through training shelter staff and providing LGBT targeted shelter services.
Some of the most complex and costly of the Taskforce recommendations are in the area of Health and Social Services, and will need further planning – and funding – to implement. These include:
- Development and implementation of LGBT senior case management and peer specialist programs to aid in the coordination and provision of care;
- Expanding access to benefits and advocacy programs by leveraging existing referral and enrollment assistance programs aimed at the general population;
- Development and implementation of LGBT senior peer counseling and support programs addressing emotional, behavioral, and social isolation challenges facing LGBT Seniors;
- Creation of an LGBT targeted education/awareness program related to Alzheimer’s and dementia care;
- Development and implementation of financial literacy and life planning support programs.
More information on the Taskforce and its recommendations, please visit the website
. Also available at that site is the Taskforce sponsored study and supporting documentation, which together provide a great source of information on the aging LGBT population in San Francisco.
Alice Endorsement: Yes on A
Communications Co-Chair, Alice Board
Planner, City and County of San Francisco
I want thank my fellow Alice members for Alice's thoughtful leadership in supporting Prop A in the coming June election. I also want to tell you why it is absolutely critical you support this measure.
Proposition A, or the Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response (ESER) Bond, is a $400 million bond measure to improve some of our city’s critical facilities and infrastructure against earthquake damage. These facilities and services are our first and often last lines of defense after a disaster, and in our day to day lives--like the use of our city's century old auxiliary water system during the recent Mission Bay fire.
Specifically, this measure seeks to retrofit many of our City’s neighborhood firehouses, seismically upgrade our aging emergency (auxiliary) firefighting water system, seismically upgrade most of our city’s police district stations, consolidate and strengthen our motorcycle police and crime lab facilities, as well as construct a new medical examiner’s office building.
These improvements are investments in today that will help us recover tomorrow. They will allow our City to bounce back from the earthquakes we all know are coming and serve our community as it faces challenges each and every day.
As a staff member of the City’s Earthquake Safety Implementation Program, a 30-year 50-task earthquake risk mitigation program (www.sfgov.org/esip
), I work to help our city prepare to recover from earthquakes every day. I believe that this measure is critical to the continued success of our City, and I hope that you will come out and vote on June 3--Vote Yes on Prop A!
For my information please visit www.sfearthquakesafety.org.
Save The Date!
Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club for our Annual Pride Breakfast
Join the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club for our Annual Pride Breakfast! This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and supports all of the important work we do year-round.
: Sunday, June 29, 2014
: Doors Open at 7:45, Program: 8:15am
: Hyatt Embarcadero - 5 Embarcadero Center (map and directions)
: $70 Members, $100 for non-member ticket
: Please visit our ActBlue page
It's FIELD Season!
With the June Primary less than 30 days away, it's time to get involved by writing some personalized post cards, making calls for one of our endorsed candidates, or hitting the streets to pass out the Alice slate card. Everyone is welcome! So sign up and come out to support the Alice-endorsed candidates!
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
and let us know your coming.
Post Card Party
Thursday May 15th 5:00-7:00pm (meet at LGBT Center, 1800 Market)
District 8 Canvass- Castro
Saturday May 17th 10:30am-1:00pm (meet at Spike's Coffee, 19th @ Castro)
Post Card Party
Sunday May 18th 11:00am-1:00pm (meet at SF Realtors Bldg., 301 Grove)
Alice Night- Phone Banking at Chiu Headquarters (549 Castro)
Tuesday May 20th 6:00-8:00pm
District 5 Canvass - Location TBD
Saturday May 24th 10:30am-1:00pm
District 8 Canvass- Location TBD
Sunday May 25th 10:30am-1:00pm
Saturday May 31st - Tuesday June 3rd
Phone banking, canvassing and visibility ALL four days!
Alice is Riding in the 2014 AIDS Lifecycle!
AIDS Lifecycle is a 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles starting on June 1 of this summer. All proceeds from fundraising for the event go to support the work, services, and research of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the LA Gay and Lesbian Center. Go riders!
To find out more please visit Alice's ALC Page
Congratulations to our board member William K. (Ken) Cleaveland on your appointment to the SF Fire Commission. We are so proud to see an LGBT member appointed by Mayor Lee.
Bravo to Board Member Keith Baraka for speaking up about injustices in the SF Fire Department to the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club.
Alice celebrating San Francisco’s legacy as a refuge, a haven, and an open society at the 18th Annual San Francisco Multicultural Freedom Seder.
The Alice table at Atmostqueer event at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center.
Stronger together! LGBT issues will always unite SF's LGBT Dem Clubs. Alice co-chair Zoe & Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club co-chair Tom at Equality California gala.