Support the LGBTQ+ Community and Get a Tax Credit

PCA and Finding the Good Team

ARIZONA GIVES DAY is April 6th!

And April 15th is just around the corner!

Your Donation of up to $800.00 to the Greater Yavapai County Coalition qualifies for the Arizona Tax Credit!

  • You can support GYCC’s many Community Programs and your donation can be included in your Federal Tax Deduction in addition to the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit!GYCC is a qualifying 501C3! Our GYCC EIN is 82-1840844
    How does it work?
    1) Donate to GYCC here: AZ-GYCC.org
    2) File your taxes and claim the credit (up to $800) by using AZDOR for 321.
    3) Receive your tax credit of up to $800 for married filing and $400 for all other filers.

    GYCC will issue a Donation receipt right away.

    Get Started and let’s get to work!

 

Invisible Men

 

Invisible Men was launched March 31, 2018 by Luckie Alexandar, a trans man and is a Transman who is an advocate exacting change that builds bridges within the LGBTQI community.  His organization creates resources and support around transmasculine folks and trans parents. 

About the Founder

Invisible Men began as a platform for people of transmasculine experience to have the ability to tell their narrative’s instead of being handed who they were according to the world. There was a documentary released in June of 2018 called Man Made that had various trans men and even a mother who raised a trans man expressing their different experiences. 

Take some time to view Man Made here: http://www.manmadedoc.com/

In the beginning there were 12 trans masculine individuals who told their stories and given visibility to an otherwise invisible population. They are called legacies.  You can read their stories here.

Each year more and more legacies have been added to the website to share their stories. Over time, the creator of Invisible Men realized that there was so much more that the organization can do for the community. Invisible men started to hold workshops and hosting events.

 

 

They became study subjects for a UC Berkeley research project, launched a mentor program called Junior Legacies, had a binder exchange and giveaway, and had a first invisible woodsman camping program. 

Invisible Men has tabled at Los Angeles pride, trans pride, competence human trafficking events and many other events. Invisible Man currently gives out transition assistant scholarships and since the inception of Invisible Men have given out four. In 2019, Invisible Men had given out 12 binders, 10 suits, and four clothing care packages.

Tabling @ Breaking the chains – ending human TRAFFICKING in compton, ca

They have also  helped people with their name changes and help them to achieve their goals of starting hormones. Many of the Groups “Legacies” have supported other community members during surgery recovery which would include check-up calls and messages as well as visiting during recovery if they were in the same area.  

On October 17, 2020, Invisible Men launched its first chapter in Atlanta, GA. The Atlanta chapter had fed ten families during Thanksgiving and have handed out over 15 care packages. As the Atlanta chapter grows so do the services that they provide. Watch the Atlanta Chapter Launch Video Here

Invisible Men is currently working on a few new projects which include Recess: Healing thru Play, Love and Art: Healing thru Art, transmasculine specific cultural competency training, and a Wellness initiative. Invisible men currently offer healthy masculinity release emotional coping and support as well as HIV prevention and more. 

The creator of this organization, Alexander, has a long history of advocacy, supporting and providing resources to the LGBTQ community, black community, and the trans community. He is also the mind behind the design for the “All Black Lives Matter” mural on Hollywood Blvd in California. 

His passion to help and give back runs deep in his soul. I have the pleasure and the privilege to know him and be there with him every step of the way as invisible men grows.

Alexander is my mentor and a mentor to so many others I am happy to stand side by side with him in the fight for equality anthophyte for those who may feel invisible. Invisible Man is here for them and most importantly we want them to know did we see you, we are here for you, and you are loved. 

Find out more about Invisible Men and Donate Here

GYCC Receives the Finding and Making Good Award

GYCC Recieves Finding and Making the Good Award

We met at Prescott Center for the Arts, where the center was also receiving an award for their program PCA Serves

The Greater Yavapai Community Coalition (GYCC) is thrilled to receive the community’s “Finding and Making Good” Award!

Beautiful Arrangement from Allen’s Flowers: Molly Freibott, John Duncan and Sylvia Ximi of GYCC

The Prescott “Finding and Making Good Program” is run by a group of local volunteers. They actively seek out  people and organizations doing selfless acts in the Community.

Check out the Daily Courier’s Article Here.

  PCA and Finding the Good Team

The group is a also a part of the El Gato Community Gives Program. Their mission is “celebrating people doing, living and creating positivity without expecting anything in return.”

GYCC received the award for their COVID Response Action Plan-Emergency Box Program.

Because of the Pandemic, GYCC was receiving urgent daily requests from Covid Positive Community Members with moderate symptoms.  Local Hospitals were full and as a result, they were being asked to Isolate/Quarantine at home

GYCC  committed  to keeping  as many COVID-positive people out of the hospitals as possible. COVID support boxes contain 14 days of supplies and are focused on helping COVID-positive people manage and monitor their symptoms at home. Supplies focus on oxygen and temperature monitors.

In addition, they include PPE for everyone in the household; disinfecting/sanitizing products; hydration and electrolyte support and shelf-stable food items. 

GYCC distributed 38 boxes with the help of other local agencies such as Big Brother Big Sister, AARP and the Prescott Odd Fellows.  The cost of 10 boxes is approximately $800.  GYCC wants to give a big thanks to everyone in the Community who donated supplies and funding!

To join in the effort or contribute to the cause, contact Molly Freibott or John Duncan at gyccinfo@gmail.com, or donate at the website az-gycc.org

To learn more, or to nominate someone in the Community who is “making the good,” visit findingandmakingthegood.com or visit their Facebook Page.

Find out more about PCA’s events here: https://www.pca-az.net/

Learn more about El Gato Azul here: https://www.elgatoazulprescott.com/

Check out this Article in Signals about El Gato Community Gives here: https://www.signalsaz.com/articles/introducing-el-gato-community-gives/

 

Grow Our Own 2021….we made it!

Spring 2021! We actually, finally made it!

2020 was the longest year in history!

Quarantine.

Racism.  Division. 

Civil Unrest.

Disruption of supply chains.  Over flowing Hospitals. 

Nothing is the same as it was a year ago and unfortunately, we’re not through yet. 

Everything is different….everything except…Spring!

In March 2020…the Pandemic had just started. Because of this, supply chains were down and food supplies were worrisomely unstable. Not to mention we were all worried if we would ever have enough toilet paper?

Because of this, GYCC decided to start a new program “Grow Our Own; A Garden for the Community”

A Garden brings hope and sustainability, together with a sense of Community; even during a lockdown!

Actual Produce from GYCC’s Garden

But how do you start a Community Garden quickly with only a plot of orange clay dirt, weeds and a shockingly tiny budget of $150.00?

The answer? Straw Bales!

Click Here to read about how we got our Straw Bale Garden Started!

Because straw bales are cheap and can be placed almost anywhere, we were able to get started suprisingly fast!  Here is our Fall 2020 “Grow Our Own Garden” planted out:

GYCC’s Garden Planted

It’s finally one year later and because Straw Bales are so positively hardy, we are able to use them for a second year!

Here is the Straw Bale Garden just a few weeks ago in March of 2021!

After an entire year of lockdown and “stay-home-everything”, we were desperately ready to get out in the garden!

But March had other ideas….

What do you when 2021 gives  you snow when you want to be gardening?

You build a DIY Straw Bale Greenhouse!

Ugly?  Absolutely!  Functional?  Heck yes!

The bales are heating and because we are early, we can start our own seeds!

Starting our own seeds!

Stay tuned and join us for weekly updates! 

Together we can build a stronger Community in 2021….one bale at a time!

 

Important Info for Downwinders

If you are over 55 you may have been impacted by nuclear testing or uranium mining in Arizona/Nevada/Utah/Colorado/New Mexico area in the 50’s and 60’s. The following information and links will help you figure out if you are entitled to compensation for illnesses that arose out of nuclear exposure. 

The US government webpage is https://www.justice.gov/civil/common/reca . RECA stands for Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. The reason we are publishing this information is that the deadline for filing is July of 2022 and it may take a while to compile the necessary information. 

There is a clinic in Flagstaff that is overseeing screening for Northern Arizona. Here is the link to that site:

https://northcountryhealthcare.org/community-programs/radiation-exposure-screening/ 

While the nuclear testing happened a long time ago, the affects may occur any time after the exposure period. We hope this may be of help to you.

Following is from the RECA website

Background

The United States conducted nearly 200 atmospheric nuclear weapons development tests from 1945 to 1962. Essential to the nation’s nuclear weapons development was uranium mining and processing, which was carried out by tens of thousands of workers.

Following the conclusion of these activities, lawsuits against the United States alleged failure to warn of exposures to known radiation hazards. These suits were dismissed by the appellate courts. Congress responded by devising a program allowing partial restitution to individuals who developed serious illnesses after presumed exposure to radiation released during the atmospheric nuclear tests or after employment in the uranium industry.  The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act was passed on October 5, 1990. The Act’s scope of coverage was broadened on July 10, 2000.

This unique statute was designed to serve as an expeditious, low-cost alternative to litigation. Significantly, RECA does not require claimants to establish causation. Rather, claimants qualify for compensation by establishing the diagnosis of a listed compensable disease after working or residing in a designated location for a specific period of time. This determination is being done by North Country Healthcare in Flagstaff, which was referenced earlier in a weblink. 

 

Is “Tolerance” a Good Thing?

I have a confession to make: I cringe each time I hear someone say they practice tolerance. Being a full supporter of equal rights for LGBTQ+ people, wouldn’t I be happy to hear people “practice tolerance”? Why would I have that inner reaction?

I might “tolerate” bad weather, someone cursing, loud music in a peaceful park, or rude drivers. Each of these has negative impact which might require tolerance. Someone being a part of the LGBTQ+ community does not have a negative impact on me, and thus there is nothing for me to “tolerate”.

Am I merely not understanding the meaning of the word? I checked with Merriam-Webster (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tolerance).

  • First definition: “capacity to endure pain or hardship: ENDURANCE, FORTITUDE, STAMINA” (capitalization theirs). When I work with someone who identifies as LGBTQ+, I’m certainly not thinking about how I have to “endure” them! Having people who are different is a benefit, not a hardship.

  • Second definition, part a: “sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own”. In no way do I feel like I am “indulging” LGBTQ+ people because their “practices differ from or conflict with” mine. We are all different; I no more have to “indulge” someone for being in that group than someone who has different colored eyes or hair than I do, or whom prefers a different flavor of ice cream. There is no need for sympathy or to “indulge” them for being different than me. To the contrary I am happy to embrace diversity.

  • Second definition, part b: “the act of allowing something: TOLERATION”. I most certainly don’t “allow” someone to be lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer, etc. any more than they “allow” me to be straight. They simply are who they are and I am who I am. Nothing to tolerate either way.

  • Third definition, “the allowable deviation from a standard”. “Standard” according to whom? It is not “standard” to fit all common “categories” — and if someone was normal in all ways that in itself would be non-standard.

None of the definitions of “tolerance” seem to fit the idea of acceptance, and yet it is often used.The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) talks about tolerance in multiple mission statement examples. https://www.aclu.org/other/gsa-mission-statement-examples

November 16th is the International Day For Tolerance. https://www.un.org/en/events/toleranceday/index.shtml

There’s a website on Teaching Tolerance. https://www.tolerance.org

The U.N. has “Declaration of Principles on Tolerance”, which is interesting to read and may be key as to why tolerance has been used with LGBTQ+ people. There they have their own definition of tolerance!
http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=13175&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

Regardless of how the U.N. defines tolerance, most dictionaries seem to agree with Merriam-Webster and the word certainly carries the connotation of tolerating something that is bad or annoying.

Wouldn’t it be better to use the word inclusive? Again back to Merriam-Webster: “including everyone especially: allowing and accommodating people who have historically been excluded (as because of their race, gender, sexuality, or ability)”. (Italics theirs) https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inclusive

Tolerance or inclusive, what do you think?

Anne & Michael Glasser make a great writing team. Anne likes to write and Michael is a fantastic editor! Bilby, Michael’s pocket bear, is the Editor in Chief! They have two magnificent teens who are constantly teaching them how to make this world a better place, and they are listening.

2020-21 School Year Starting in Days… What Options Do I Have?

With COVID-19 still on the rampage and school starting soon (for AZ, August 6th!), many of us are wondering what our schooling options are. Do we send our kids to a brick-and-mortar? Buy or create a curriculum to homeschool? Enroll in an online school?

What is safe for my children and family? How do I know what is the right decision for my family? If I do decide to go with an online school, which one? In this article we will explore those options and hopefully help you decide what is best for your family.

Brick-and-Mortar

First, a quick definition: A brick-and-mortar school is any physical school your child might attend. 

PUSD is currently planning on starting school on August 6th with two weeks of online school and then potentially moving to face-to-face classes, depending on what the recommendations from the Arizona Department of Education Roadmap. They discuss more of this here: https://www.prescottschools.com/blog/22387/

For some, students and parents, the uncertainty of how school is going to happen this year may be stressful and your family may desire a more predictable school year.

Also, there is the concern of contracting or spreading COVID-19. Schools, unfortunately, with their inevitable close contact, are one of the biggest ways to spread this pandemic, no matter the precautions taken!

If not a brick-and-mortar, then what?

Homeschooling

It is important to make decisions based on your children and family unit. There is no one-size fits all when it comes to schooling options. Know your limitations and capabilities because it can make or break how things go. 

To start with, ask yourself these three questions:

Is your child self-motivated or do they need someone to hold their hand along the way?

A lot will depend on your children’s ages and personalities. 

Ask yourself:

  • How available are you for them, especially if you have younglings? 
  • Do you have the ability to multi-task well? If not, is this something you can and are willing to learn?

For homeschooling, our experience is that in grades K-4 they needed a lot more hands on assistance from us and less as they’ve gotten older

What style of learning does my child learn best with?

Because we live in a state that doesn’t have specific requirements for homeschooling, you can do whatever you feel is best. You can teach in whatever way you want, leave out or add any subject, and set your own schedule for schooling. You don’t need to check in with anyone to make sure you are “in school”, testing is up to you, and you have many other benefits, though this also means you are largely left unchecked if you are unintentionally leaving out important parts of a curriculum.

If you do use your own curriculum you need to let the county know that you are planning on schooling at home. This is a very simple process and only takes minutes.

You will need to print an Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool (https://www.afhe.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/affidavit_of_intent_to_homeschool_rev2019.pdf). Along with this document you will need a copy of your child’s birth certificate, have the affidavit notarized, and send it into the county. Here is the mailing address and phone number for Yavapai County:
Tim Carter
2970 Centerpointe East Drive,
Prescott, AZ 86301
928-771-3326

If this is the road you want to explore, I recommend connecting with a local homeschooling group and ask questions; they are an awesome resource! 

How much does homeschooling cost?

Homeschooling can be as expensive or inexpensive as you’d like! There are pre-made curriculum available; some by subject, some by grade, religious preferences, teaching method, field trips, and the list goes on. With that said, you will likely find you want materials to best serve the needs of your children. This can include the basics like pencils and paper and other common office supplies, to materials needed for science experiments or other materials you might not have at home. There are many resources to find lessons that use fairly inexpensive materials. 

Another Option: Online Schools

There are variety of free online public schools. There are also virtual private and / or religious schools that vary abundantly in prices.

If you decide to enroll in a public online school, you do not need to file an Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool.

To learn more about a school, you can check out the website and / or call them and ask questions such as these:

  1. What kind of computer and / or browser works with the school’s system?
  2. Does the school supply textbooks and other items needed for class (such as science experiments)?
  3. Is the school accredited, and if so by what organization(s)?
  4. What is the ratio of students to teachers?
  5. Are there any hidden fees?
  6. Lastly, what is the expected role as a parent?

Of course, not all kids are the same. With our kids, now grades 8 and 9, we certainly are supportive and help them when needed, but for the most part they are successful with an online school without much assistance or prodding from us. At the same time, we make ourselves available should they need us.

Below are some free public online school options.

Grades: K-12

 

Grades: K-12

 

Grades: K-12

 

Grades: 9-12

 

Grades: K-12

 

Grades: 7-12

The links below will give you an idea of what will be taught using an accredited online school. These links will also help familiarize you with the terms used in online schooling and supply answers to more questions and / or concerns you may have:

 

 

Arizona is a state that offers a wide variety of options for schooling; brick-and-mortar, homeschooling, and online schools. Remember, this is doesn’t have to be a rest-of-school-life decision. Just take one year at a time and adjust as needed.

If you have more questions or concerns, I recommend joining Arizona Homeschool Chapter (https://www.facebook.com/groups/311460192366429/), a local homeschooling group. I found the families to be incredibly helpful and supportive with both creating a curriculum and doing online schooling.

 

Anne & Michael Glasser make a great writing team. Anne likes to write and Michael is a fantastic editor! Bilby, Michael’s pocket bear, is the Editor in Chief! They have two magnificent teens who are constantly teaching them how to make this world a better place, and they are listening.

GYCC Addresses Hate Filled Student Video

As many of you are already aware, there was recently a video captured of a local Prescott High School student making hateful and threatening remarks toward the LGBTQ+ community. GYCC has been in communication with Prescott Unified School District, Launchpad Teen Center and others involved with our community to assure action is being taken to keep our community safe.

GYCC Board Members met with PHS Faculty and PUSD representatives this morning over Google Meet. Everyone in attendance was on the same page that more action needs to be taken to support the LGBTQ+ youth in our area, and staff of the school and school district are listening to our community.

Know that there are long-term plans to implement inclusive education and support for our LGBTQ+ students.

You can get more info about the incident that began the discussion, and our response, on our blog. Link is below.

Content warning: This post describes explicit threats of violence and hate speech against the LGBTQ+ community.

MORE INFO + GYCC’S RESPONSE

If you are having a hard time and need support or resources,
please reach out to us. gyccinfo@gmail.com

GYCC’s Statement Regarding Hate Message Against LGBTQ+ Community

Content warning: This post describes explicit threats of violence and hate speech against the LGBTQ+ community.

Earlier this week, a video surfaced in local social media circles of a Prescott High School student’s Snapchat video. In this video, the student addresses the audience, saying that he thinks “all gays deserve to f***ing die” and goes on to describe his intentions to harm any transgender person he sees enter a restroom he feels they don’t belong in at the school. He specified “we are going to” beat them up, which many community members think implies he assumes support in his stance. He continued, saying, “They are going to get the s*** beat out of them, and they can’t do anything.”

Soon after, an apology video from the student also circulated local social media. Many speculate the apology was not genuine, and was simply damage control, as he clarifies that his comments do not represent him, his brothers, his parents or family, nor do they represent PHS, or any athletic teams he is on at the school. Prescott’s The Daily Courier responded with an article denouncing the hate speech of the student: Prescott High School student posts threatening video on social media.

Prescott High School also responded, on behalf of the school district:

The Prescott Unified School District (PUSD) respects and champions the diversity and life experiences of all community members. We promote a mission to provide a safe and supportive environment that fosters a comprehensive education for all students so that they may reach their full potential. Our Motto is “Every Child, Every Day.”

Over the weekend, a video shared on social media of a student making offensive remarks was brought to the attention of Prescott High School (PHS) and PUSD Administration. The post does not reflect the values of PHS or the PUSD community. This video was strongly concerning and saddening to us. It spurred response from across the community and even the country. We have spent our weekend responding to these concerns and working closely with students and families involved. When we say Every Child, Every Day, we mean it.

PUSD is committed to supporting the many different races, genders, religions, and sexual orientations throughout our schools and community. Every Child, Every Day means that when students show intolerance, we must work with them to not only hold them accountable, but also to provide opportunities for them to learn from mistakes and re-examine the importance of tolerance. This is a societal challenge, and our country is grappling with this. As teachers, neighbors and community members, we are committed to guide, educate, and promote love and acceptance.

Though we are not able to share details regarding disciplinary actions, we can assure you that we have responded swiftly and appropriately. We will not tolerate any threats to the welfare of anyone in our community. PUSD continues to be known for handling disciplinary situations seriously while keeping values of compassion and redirection in the forefront. We continue our commitment to protecting all students and staff in PUSD.

Greater Yavapai County Coalition (GYCC) is dedicated to protect and serve the LGBTQ+ Community and support under represented populations.  We are deeply concerned about the recent video posted by Prescott High School Student.  This was a direct and deliberate threat to the physical health and safety of LGBTQ+ students and faculty at PHS.  We will be filing a complaint with the Prescott Police Department and letting them know of our concerns.

We appreciate your prompt response and commitment to supporting the many different races, genders, religions and sexual orientations represented in our schools and community.  However, as a community that deals with violence and oppression on a daily basis, we do not agree that this can be passed off as a “Societal Challenge”.

This is a direct and specific problem with Prescott High School, The City of Prescott and the Prescott Community. We repeat that this was a clear threat and a very direct promise of violence against trans and LGBTQ+ students.

In the past, GYCC has worked with PCH to help start the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) and offered training and support to staff and administration.  We acknowledge the hard work and progress made in the areas of social justice and inclusivity.

We would like to continue to be a part of the solution and are here to offer support, education, training and resources.  We understand that during this time of crisis there are tremendous demands on the administration and staff. We would like to come along side and help in any way we can.

We would like to offer mentorship and training to support the existing GSA and partner with organizations such as The Launch Pad and One in Ten to help guide, educate and promote love and acceptance and tolerance.

We will make the following resources and trainings available free and in a format that allows Social Distancing and Safety.

  • Mentorship and Training for GSA Students, Leaders and Staff Support
  • Inclusivity and Sensitivity training for Staff and Administration by Zoom.
  • Suicide Prevention and Intervention Training for Staff & Administration
  • Social Justice and Restorative Justice Training for Staff/Administration

We understand that we are currently in a crisis situation and will provide information and support that is easily accessible, timely and free of charge.  These include:

  • Crisis Lines, Support Lines and Suicide Prevention Hot Lines
  • Local Resource Lists for Teachers, Staff and Administration
  • On-call help/response for crisis situations from GYCC & local Agencies trained in Inclusivity and LGBTQ+ issues.

Our staff at GYCC is available for questions, counseling and support at gyccinfo@gmail.com.  We will respond promptly by phone or email as needed. We hope we can work together with other resources in the community to help alleviate this issue and build a better future.

Sincerely,

Molly Freibott, Director of Operations
John Duncan, Events Director
Sylvia Wauters, Social & Website Director
Pat Beidel, Community Resource Director
Teresa Landreth, Director of Trans Programming

Greater Yavapai County Coalition
AZ-GYCC.org
gyccinfo@gmail.com

America in Crisis

On Memorial Day May 25 th , 2020; during the CoVid-19 Pandemic, raging in our world an event happened that changed everything. George Floyd was murdered at the hands (knee) of an 18-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Force. The officer had over 15 prior citizens’ complaints of the use of excessive force. The officer planted his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck-for 8 minutes and 46 seconds; he cried I can’t breathe. This horrendous event should never have happened. Mr. Floyd received the death penalty without being charged, without a judge and without a jury of his peers…he died at the hands of those that are responsible for our public safety. Since 5/25/2020 Demonstrations have taken place in cities and countries around the world demanding Police Reform/Defunding.

We need to stop the “double standard”. Justice for all is not an expression it is a requirement. We cannot be complacent, color-blind or out of touch, can’t stick your head in the sand and think it is going to go away. Systemic racism in the United States has devalued the lives of Black Americans. (Dewey Clayton, University of Louisville)

Most Americans 7 out of 10 say race relations in the U.S. are bad and getting worse. Over 60% feel it has become more common for individuals to express racist or racially insensitive remarks since Donald Trump became President. Race relations are tenuous and as a society we need to make it a priority to change the current “social norms”. Black men and women should not be in fear for their lives every time they have an encounter with a police officer. The police’s role in communities has become militaristic; instead of “protect and serve” as their goal they have been obtaining Military Style weapons and have lost the “Community Police Prevention Actions”. A traffic stop should not become the death penalty!

Trump’s handling of this issue has been “law and order” and encouraging violence. He tweeted “when the looting starts the shooting starts”. People not seeing discrimination where it exists is a bigger problem in the U.S. than people want to acknowledge. Systemic racism in the United States has devalued and dehumanized the lives of Black Americans. We must take action now. The legacy of slavery and Jim Crow laws have left a large hole in our society. Racism and systemic oppression need to be discussed at the highest level and laws need to be drafted that gives equal opportunity for all Americans’. Racial inequity is a public health problem. “All men are created equally”, police brutality is one of many discriminatory issues that negatively impact Black Americans, housing, education, healthcare, employment, over represented in prison population, poverty and various other negative health indicators. (Race in America 2019)

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated holiday in the United States, and represents the ending of slavery!

Juneteenth celebrates the freedom of enslaved people in the United States and the end of the Civil War. On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation, declared enslaved people in the Confederacy free-if Union won the War. The Proclamation turned the war into a fight for FREEDOM. At the end of the war 200,000 black soldiers had joined the fight, spreading news of freedom as they fought their way through the South. (National Geographic, Sidney Combs 2019).

Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Since Texas was one of the last strongholds of the South, the 250,000 enslaved people in Texas did not learn of their freedom until Union General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and announced enslaved people are now free. This announcement came over 2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. (12 things you might not know about Juneteenth, Stacy Conradt 6/19/2018.)

According to historian James Smallwood, many slave owners deliberately did not give the information until after the harvest, and some beyond that. Despite the announcement, Texas slave owners were not eager to part with what they felt was their property. When freed people tried to leave, many were beaten, lynched, or murdered. “They would catch freed slaves swimming across the Sabine River and shoot them”.

With the announcement by General Granger, on June 19th, 1865 that the President had issued a proclamation, all slaves are free. This involves equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and new ties between employer and hired labor.” Initial Juneteenth celebrations commemorating the end of slavery spread across the South. In 1980, Texas became the first state to recognize June 19th as a state holiday, which it did with legislation. Juneteenth is recognized in nearly every state, and there is an effort underway for federal recognition. This Juneteenth, the Movement for Black Lives and many partner organizations are leading actions across the country to defund the police, invest in Black communities, and call for Trump to resign.

“Juneteenth is a day that honors Black freedom and Black resistance, and centers Black people’s unique contribution to the struggle for justice in the U.S. This Juneteenth is a rare moment for our communities to proclaim in one voice that Black Lives Matter, and that we won’t tolerate anything less than justice for all our people.” https://sixnineteen.com/about/

Tulsa Race Massacre

The Tulsa race massacre of 1921 took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921. Tulsa’s Greenwood District, known as the nation’s “Black Wall Street,” was one of the most prosperous Black American communities in the United States. On May 31st a mob inflamed by rumors that a young black man had raped a white girl. The blood bath lasted for 18 hours. More than 800 people were admitted to hospitals and as many as 6,000 black residents were interned at large facilities. This massacre has been called “the single worst incident of racial violence in American history”. The attack, carried out on the ground and from private aircraft, destroyed more than 35 square blocks of the district-at that time the wealthiest black community in the United States, known as “Black Wall Street”.

Systemic racism must be addressed and eradicated. Police must be open to making major changes to the systems in place that continue to allow and reinforce the “them” vs “us” approach to community policing. Demonstrations around the world are calling for changes in policies and protocols that “allow” choke holes, no-knock subpoenas, excessive force, profiling and accountability. There are also calls to defund the police and invest in Black communities through education, housing, jobs and more.

“White privilege” refers to societal privilege that benefits white people over non-white, particularly if they are otherwise under the same social, political or economic circumstances (Wikipedia) “Birthright” a particular right of possession or privilege one has from birth. White Nationalist – a type of nationalism or pan-nationalism which espouses the belief that white people are a race and seeks to develop and maintain a white racial and national identity. They with and are attached to the concept of a white nation” make America white again” is their war cry.

Since the passage of the 13th Amendment by Congress on January 31, 1865, the 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States, passed the Senate on April 8, 1864, and the House on January 31,1865. Since then every time Black Americans make clear advances toward full participation in the greater society they have been greeted with roadblocks. The end of slavery was met by Black Codes and Jim Crow laws, the 1954 Brown vs the Board of Education ruling was met with shutting down public schools throughout the South and using tax dollars paid for segregated white private schools. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 a landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that outlaw’s discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It prohibits unequal application of voter registration requirements, and racial segregation in schools, employment, and public accommodations.

As a society we must end the systemic racism present in the United States. The legacy of slavery, devaluing of human life, lynching’s and Jim Crow laws. There is a continuous struggle between the “haves” and the “have nots”. Those that have the means and resources are served a different set of rules and justice than persons of color. Americans that are Black are portrayed as criminals by media, less than human, “3/5ths Compromise” (United States Constitution race, class and gender,2007)

While people of color were suffering from white supremacy, all women were suffering from male supremacy. Neither white women or enslaved people could hold office, serve on juries, vote, obtain ownership of property in their own name and married women were denied the legal capacity to ho their own children. Discrimination, social injustice, gender, race, sexual orientation, disenfranchised, poverty, hatred and economic instability and the list goes on. We have an opportunity to embrace “real change; not lip service. We need to have open dialog. All players must be invited to the table. Police reform is at its highest level of “emergency” and since Mr. Floyd was heard saying “I can’t breathe”, other police encounters in other states have had police using excessive force! This violence did not start with George Floyd’s death, but we can say: it must end NOW.

We stand in solidarity with all Black Americans in mourning for their loss of a loved one. No mother should have to identify their 14-year-old son in a Morgue secondarily to being misidentified and shot by police. We are one community and as an organization that values diversity, equality and inclusion we stand with Black Lives Matter. We are passionate about serving members of our community and invite you to Stand up, speak up and Speak out against oppression and systemic racism. We are defined by how we treat people, as human beings. Our moral compass says if everyone isn’t free then no one is free. Freedom requires responsibility for one’s own actions. We abhor hate based organizations! Hate destroys the soul and dehumanizes. Demonstrations and protest continue; the streets are filled with people of all colors, race, sexual orientation, SES, education and age groups. They are gathering in the streets, parks and office buildings. Old, young and in between are risking their own health during this COVID-19 pandemic to gather in the streets and demand change. We cannot ignore the cries of mothers and fathers as they try to understand; “how my boy was shot in the back” by a police officer. We must remain steadfast and demand equality for all, concrete, obtainable change is going to take mass public outcry for our leaders to get off their collective asses and finally take action and dismantle the systems that led to the deaths of countless Black Americans.

We are all in this together and if we are truly invested in change, it will occur as long as we are alive, we must fight for equality and justice for all. I believe in humans. Humanity is depending on its leaders to do the right thing. Let’s move forward with our mission: GYCC is a 501-(c)(3) organization that provides an umbrella of resources, support, and connection to the LGBTQ+ community, friends, family, and allies across Yavapai County and Northern Arizona. GYCC provides a bridge between people in need and the organizations who serve them.

Respectfully submitted
Patricia K Beitel RN,MSN (retired)
Outreach Coordinator