Open Letter from Concerned Clergy of Olympia in Support of LGBTQ+ and Pride
The Concerned Clergy of Olympia (CCO) is a cohort of progressive clergy committed to social justice and collaboration between and through our religious traditions. CCO is itself a community of LGBTQ faith leaders and willing allies, and it is from this orientation that we offer a message of affirmation for the month of Pride and are unanimous in our deep love and concern for the LGBTQ+ community, and for all persons who continue to struggle for full recognition, safety, and rights.
This month of Pride finds our country in a chapter that is rife with gun violence, political polarization, and an alarming proliferation of legislative action against trans and gay youth. These legislative agendas and laws seek to shame, exclude, and even prosecute young people simply for expressing themselves in a way that is most authentic to them. Anti-trans legislation causes harm, increases rates of suicide and suicide ideation, and heightens rates of depression and emotional distress. Even within some of our faith traditions there are divisions related to the full welcome of people who are queer, bi, gay, trans, non-binary, and intersex.
We support the beloved wholeness of LGBTQ+ persons and the respectful representation of history and culture within our faith communities, schools, public spaces, and our systems of medical and mental care for all people according to what is most supportive for them. We are committed to a societal vision of inclusion, welcome, and safety for all people and extend this commitment to our community as an invitation to show up and stand up for our fellow LGBTQ residents.
Wishing you a happy and safe pride!
We call on public officials and citizens to join us in speaking out with one voice against bigotry and racism. This violence is not welcome in our community.
On Saturday, March 5, white supremacist groups are planning a rally at the Washington State Capitol. The rally, organized by March for Our Rights and dubbed “Government Resistance Impedes Tyranny” or GRIT, is focused on protesting the state’s COVID-19 response. The rally’s sponsors include the Washington Three Percent, Turning Point USA and The Family Policy Institute of Washington. In addition, the Oregon-based group Timber Unity, which has used truck convoys as an intimidation tactic in Salem, OR, has announced that they too will join the rally. These groups have a documented history of violent and threatening rhetoric, intentionally combining bigotry, disinformation, and conspiracy theories with tactics that include threats, intimidation and paramilitary presence.
Concerned Clergy of Olympia, rooted in our faith traditions and teachings, proclaim the inherent worth, dignity and safety of all persons. We call on public officials and citizens to join us in speaking out with one voice against bigotry and racism. We affirm that ideologies of white supremacy, hate, and oppression of those most marginalized are not welcome in our community.
This letter was submitted to the Thurston County Commissioners ahead of their meeting on January 11, 2021.
To the Thurston County Commissioners and County Manager:
We, the members of the Concerned Clergy of Olympia, are writing to you today to voice support for the persons currently receiving shelter after being displaced from the Deschutes encampment in early December. Currently there are over 70 people who are being sheltered in a regional hotel as a result of losing their places of residence from this encampment removal.
We support the ongoing sheltering of these Olympia residents in the hotel through the winter months or until such a time when a humane and safe alternative is ready.
As faith leaders we are constantly looking for ways to help in the epidemic of homelessness in our region. Toward that end we believe that the County and City have unique roles to play, just as the faith communities do. One of the ways that we believe the County and City can garner maximum impact is by developing strategies for connecting people to services and continuing to develop safe and affordable housing and shelter options. This includes supporting needs related to start-up infrastructure (like microhouses) and ensuring adequate staffing support for such programs.
We thank you for your review of these points of endorsement and recommendation as you approach your January 11 meeting. We hope and pray for policies that uplift the humanity of all persons in our communities.
Submitted in hope and affirmation of the most vulnerable,
Concerned Clergy of Olympia
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