On this day when we commemorate the life of Martin Luther King Jr., I wanted to share links to the photographs that State Chair Jaxon Ravens spoke about during his visit to the 26th LD earlier this month.
Jaxon has every right to be proud of his father, Bob Fitch, and I think he knows how lucky he is to be his son. I could not help but note how amazing it was that we had both arrived at this same place, the Democratic Party, yet had taken such different routes to get here.
In the spring of 1968, I was six years old, living on the base at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. My father was an enlisted man supporting six children, and assigned to training new sailors. After almost twenty years in the service, he finally had an assignment that did not take him out to sea away from his family for months at a time. I attended school outside the gates of the base in the racially mixed city of North Chicago.
I was already an avid reader, and I spent hours studying the encyclopedias that my father had purchased from a shipmate who sold them door-to-door to make extra money. (This was very common, as my father sold vacuum cleaners in his spare time.) I eagerly devoured the sections on U.S. Presidents and the 50 states. I also remember how I looked forward to Fridays when our class would share My Weekly Reader, which was my main source for news of the world around me.
After Dr, King’s death, I copied my young black friends my cutting out his picture and gluing it to the front of my construction paper folder that held my week’s work. I recall my father coming home that afternoon in his clean white uniform, sitting at the dining room table. When he noticed my folder, he became enraged, and demanded to know why I would decorate my folder with a picture of this “nigger.” My answer that “everybody else was doing it,” was not good enough, so I lied and told him that my teacher, Mrs. Morrison, “made” us do it. He stormed over to the phone hanging on the wall, preparing to call the school to raise hell. When I stopped him, and admitted that it was my own decision, he quickly retrieved his leather belt and administered a brutal dose of punishment. When he was done, and I was still wailing, he told me to go to school on Monday and tell the class during Show-and-Tell that he was the man who had killed Martin Luther King, and that he was proud of it. I remember being confused, and believing that he, indeed, could have been the killer, given his hatred for Dr.King. At this point, my mother finally intervened and was able to calm my father, and I was sent to bed without supper. Hours later, my mother snuck some food to me in my room as I sat alone in my room, still crying. While she gently rubbed the red marks on my body left by the belt, she told me that my father beat me because I lied to him, and not because of the folder. But even at six, I knew better, and he confirmed my feelings by referring to me as “mama’s little nigger lover” for many days afterwards.
My point in relating this painful story is that, especially on this day, we should honor all of those who suffered and sacrificed for the civil rights movement by continuing the struggle. Although race relations are still an issue today, we have come so very far from 1968. Yet now, with Donald Trump preparing to take office, we must hold tight to our ideals of equality and justice in America. Democrats must work even harder to keep moving forward with civil rights, and stand up for our Muslim and immigrant neighbors as this four year term of uncertainty begins. We must, at the same time, realize that Trump supporters today are not necessarily bad people, but merely a product of our times, the same way my father was in 1968.
My second point is much simpler: please be kind to each other. We are all fragile creatures, us human beings, and we need to be handled with care. Unless you know a person intimately, you may never know the secret pain or shame that they carry, so let’s treat each other gently. Please take the time to listen to others, and show respect for their feelings, even when we disagree.
Inside of me, that 6-year-old boy still remains. He still longs for approval and validation of his beliefs, likely explaining my great reverence for men like Hugh McMillan, George Robison and Larry Seaquist. And, finally, if the six-year-old kid inside of you needs a hug from time to time, I want you to know that I’m here for you.
John Kelly, Chair
26th LD Democrats
26th Legislative District Democrats PO Box 1693 Port Orchard, WA 98366
January 14, 2017
Dear Senator Murray,
Last December, I was elected as Democratic Chair in Washington’s 26th Legislative District, which extends from Gig Harbor to Bremerton. My first order of business has been to mend a group fractured by the un-Democratic system of super delegates and the DNC’s treatment of Senator Sanders.
Imagine my disappointment to learn that you voted with Republicans to block Senator Sanders’ bill to allow Americans to buy prescription drugs from Canada. As a lifelong Democrat, I am weary of making excuses for party leadership, and I am curious to your reasoning behind your decision. Without a reasonable explanation, I must tell you that this decision smells like quid quo pro for the pharmaceutical lobby.
This decision is also personally upsetting to me. Last fall, I spent many hours, often in miserable weather, placing campaign signs for any Democratic candidate that asked me. This included putting up many signs for you, Senator Murray. I feel betrayed.
Perhaps, given your job security, comfortable salary and great insurance benefits, you have forgotten that millions of Americans are struggling to afford their medication. My own dear mother has been faced with making the decision between paying for her prescriptions or for heating oil for her home. So, yes, this is personal for me, and your lack of empathy with the challenges Americans are facing exposes a huge flaw in your leadership. I can only hope you to do more to protect the Affordable Care Act in the days ahead.
I would be pleased to share your response with the members of the 26th LD Democrats. I would suggest, however, that when you come back to Washington State, you explain directly to our group of Democrats. We meet on the first Thursday of each month at 7:00 PM in Port Orchard.
Chair, 26th LD Democrats
Grand Master, Key Peninsula Democrats
26th LD Democrats attending the Kitsap Re-Org Meeting
Thank you to all of our Precinct Committee Officers who attended the Kitsap Democrats Re-Org Meeting and congratulations to the new Kitsap Democrats executive board!
Leslie Daugs-Vice Chair
Payton Swinford-State Committeeman
Mary Bryant-State Committeewoman
Commissioner District 1 Reps: Natalie Bryson, Doug MacKenzie, Jo Fox Burr, Craig Markham
District 2: Dave Peterson, Kaitlyn Gervais, Lisa Paquette, Tony Otto
District 3: Ginny Duff, Bob Grady, Ron Gillespie, Lillian Crawford
Please join us Thursday January 5th, 2017 at 6:30 PM (note: earlier meeting time) to welcome Jaxon Ravens and Tina Podlodowski, candidates for chair of the Washington State Democrats Central Committee. Our meetings take place at the Givens Community Center, 1026 Sidney Rd, Port Orchard 98366. For more information or for additional questions, please contact chair John Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
26th LD Democrats participated recently in a roadside cleanup in Pierce County. Thanks to everyone who participated in helping to beautify our community!
(L-R) Karen Urman, Treasurer Wes Morgan, Vice Chair Cecilia Hardy, State Committeewoman Joy Vartanian, and Secretary Dan Ransom, PE