Potluck lunch and screening of the film, “Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin,” followed by discussion

Saturday, February 4, 2017, noon to 3 p.m.

Olympia Friends Meetinghouse
3201 Boston Harbor Road NE
Olympia, WA  98506-2800

Bayard Rustin was raised by his Quaker grandmother. In high school he protested segregation at a hometown restaurant and was arrested for sitting in the whites only section of a theater. Rustin’s belief in nonviolent action as a means for social change gave him a guiding vision for the civil rights movement. He helped A. Philip Randolph plan a March on Washington in June, 1941. Abraham Muste, executive secretary of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, who had also been involved in planning that march, then appointed Rustin as FOR’s secretary for student and general affairs. Rustin met Martin Luther King Jr. in 1956 after traveling to Montgomery, Alabama, to assist with the boycott of the city’s segregated bus system, and is credited with helping to mold the younger King into an international symbol of nonviolence.

Bayard Rustin was the primary organizer of the 1963 March on Washington.

Despite these achievements, Rustin was silenced, threatened and fired from leadership positions – sometimes because of his uncompromising political beliefs, but more often because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era. BROTHER OUTSIDER reveals the price that Rustin paid for this openness, chronicling both the triumphs and setbacks of his remarkable 60-year career.

This free event was sponsored by the Oympia Friends (Quakers) Meeting’s Peace and Social Justice Subcommittee on Institutional Racism.

The resource packet shared at this event which was put together by PFLAG Olympia is available here: Tapestry – PFLAG-Olympia’s 02-19-2010 Outreach Packet for African-American History Month (PDF format)

Questions? Contact Gabi Clayton, 360-888-5291

Download this event flyer in a full 8.5″x11″ page and a 4-up on 8.5″x11″ page (both in PDF format) here by clicking on the links or on these images:

Regarding the May 21 Shooting of Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin

June 18, 2015 — We are still processing with shock and horror the police shooting of Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin, two unarmed young Black men, on Thursday, May 21 on the West side of Olympia.

Shoplifting beer is not a felony. The effect of White privilege can be difficult for privileged people to perceive, but when White young men on skateboards are suspected of shoplifting beer at a grocery store at 1 a.m., police are unlikely to shoot them.

dove&branch-smWe believe it is not acceptable to say, “We don’t think race was a factor.” Race is always a factor in our race-conscious society. If we pretend that race does not influence us and others, those of us who are White not only lose the opportunity to recognize and counteract the effects of racism and oppression, we offend and lose credibility with our Black neighbors and friends who live knowing this truth because they live Black lives in Black skin.

While we are grateful for those who endeavor to serve and protect our community, who risk their own safety in order to increase the safety of others, the shooting of these young Black men ‘armed’ with skateboards by those acting in our name is intolerable and inexcusable.

Race colors everyone’s perceptions, both during and after such an event. Regardless of who is right about the facts being disputed at this time, we need to admit this was a failure, find out all the reasons it failed, and fix everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Anger, frustration, fear, and hostility are symptoms of the ongoing racial inequalities that continue to be a part of what forms our community and our society.

We have all been affected by this event, but Black residents of Olympia have been affected most of all. Accountability by our police department is critical.

Regardless of the outcome produced by the legal system in this case, we ask for a steadfast commitment to working for an end to race bias in our police department.

In the coming months we ask for full transparency about planned changes in police selection, training, technology, and tactics. We ask that Black citizens of Olympia be involved at every step so that, when faced with situations we cannot confidently handle alone, all of us — regardless of our skin color — can be confident that our police will serve and protect us with integrity.

We call upon the Olympia Police Department to stand up and stand for what is right and good and against bias and hate within their ranks — as we call upon ourselves to do so. This is in keeping with our faith and our Quaker testimonies regarding peace, equality, integrity, and community.

Finally, we are proud to live in a community that at the best of times seeks to uphold the highest human values. We pray and hope and work toward that.

As members of the Peace and Social Justice Committee of the Olympia Monthly Meeting (Quakers) with other concerned members of our faith community, we are: Gabi Clayton, Steven Aldrich, David Albert, Polly Boyajian, Dennis Mills, with Renee Binns, Judith Bouffiou, Susan Campbell, Kathy Cox, Dave Cundiff, Ward C. Miles, Anne M. Mills, Alan Mountjoy-Venning, Jane Mountjoy-Venning, Kathleen O’Shaunessy, Ellen Sawislak, Vince Schueler, Donna Schumann, Jane Sherman, Naki Stevens, Suzanne Simons, Evan Welkin, and Jack Zeiger.