Kitsap County Community Members -

The Kitsap County Council for Human Rights is comprised of residents of Kitsap County appointed by the Board of County Commissioners to 1) advise county government and the Kitsap County community on issues related to discrimination, violence and harassment based on race or national origin, religion, age, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, or economic status, and 2) to promote equitable treatment of all people and reduce prejudice through education, resource referrals, and advocacy.

With this mission as our directive, the members of the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights issue this statement declaring our concern and opposition to the many incidents of discrimination that have occurred within Kitsap County in recent months. We are disheartened by these blatant displays of racist, sexist, and religious bigotry. We stand with and support those who have endured racial slurs and vandalism,[1],[2] misogynistic treatment and comments,[3] religious persecution,[4] and discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation.[5],[6]

These incidents are all the more concerning in light of Resolution 2021-01Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis, which was approved by the Kitsap Public Health Board in 2021. We support the work of the Health Board to address this crisis, as well as efforts by the State and County to ensure equity in all areas of public policy.

We want to acknowledge our youth, who have been sharing the painful situations they are experiencing and witnessing within our schools and at school-related athletic events. We hear you, stand with you, and thank you for your courage in addressing these situations. We encourage our youth and all Kitsap residents to report all incidents of discrimination and acts of racism to the proper authorities, including, but not limited to, school administrators, law enforcement, the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights, and the Washington State Human Rights Commission.

This Council’s Vision is that Kitsap County shall be a caring, supportive, and safe community for everyone – one that values each individual, celebrates individual differences, and recognizes the importance of each person’s contribution. Toward that goal, we call on those residing and working within Kitsap County to learn more about these incidents and to understand the effects they have on all of us. To help educate our community and ensure that Kitsap County is safe and welcoming, with equitable treatment for all, we encourage area residents to explore resources on the Council for Human Rights website. We also hope to see an increase in community involvement with other local organizations and initiatives that address racism, such as Kitsap Equity, Race And Community Engagement (ERACE) Coalition; Kitsap Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ); Kitsap Advocating for Immigrant Rights & Equality (KAIRE); Kitsap Strong; and Kitsap Racial Equity & Empowerment Fund (KREEF).

Respectfully Submitted,

Members of the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights

[1] https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/news/2021/12/15/kingston-high-investigating-racist-fan-behavior-basketball-game/8909670002/
[2]
https://komonews.com/news/local/swastika-signs-found-in-kitsap-county
[3]
https://www.yahoo.com/now/bremerton-city-councilwoman-leslie-daugs-002601192.html
[4]
https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/news/2021/11/18/bainbridge-island-public-art-piece-tagged-swastika/8669596002/
[5]
https://cougarchronicle.org/student-life/2021/11/11/poster-expressing-support-for-lgbtq-community-removed-at-cougar-valley-elementary/
[6]
https://www.yahoo.com/video/central-kitsap-school-district-reverses-214620792.html

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