Confronting Racism

Do not accept what is; confront it and move toward what should be. This page will present examples of what LWV-TC and other like-minded organizations are doing to move toward a truly diverse and inclusive community.

Olympia to launch virtual town hall series on racial justice

The Olympia City Council is offering a series of four, weekly virtual town hall meetings for the public focused on racial justice and the justice system, economic opportunity, the healthcare system and the education system.

August 6, 2020 - Town Hall - Racial Justice and Education

Our community is in the midst of conversations on issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement, yet Black voices are rarely at the center of these conversations. For our community to truly understand the issues at the center of institutional racism and the opportunities for positive change driven by the Black Lives Matter movement, we need to listen to those who are living Black lives.

The Olympia City Council has sponsored this series of virtual Town Halls to provide a platform for conversations around racial justice centered on and led by African Americans with professional and lived experience on specific topics.

The goal of the virtual town halls is to provide a safe gathering space for the community to learn and understand the issues at the center of institutional racism and the opportunities for positive change driven by the Black Lives Matter movement.
This Town Hall will be on the topic of the Racial Justice and Education System.

The moderated panel includes:

Kellie Purce Braseth, Strategic Communications Director, City of Olympia

Parfait Bassale, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, South Puget Sound Community College

Fernell Miller, Founder & CEO, The Root of Us

Thomas "Les" Purce, President Emeritus, The Evergreen State College

Thelma Jackson, co-founder, Black Alliance of Thurston County
Attendees will be able to submit questions live through a moderator during the event. Residents can register to attend the July 23 Justice System Town Hall through this link:
The Olympia City Council will convene another Virtual Town Hall on “Racial Justice and the Healthcare System” on Thursday, Aug. 6 at 4 p.m.; and a Town Hall on “Racial Justice and the Education System” on Thursday, Aug. 13 at 4 p.m. All the Virtual Town Halls will follow the same basic format.
 For further information on the Virtual Town Hall meetings, contact the City of Olympia at


July 12, 2020 -- Court rulings are victories for Native American Rights. 

A recent US Supreme Court decision effectively recognized much of eastern Oklahoma as part of an Indian Reservation.  It could reshape much of criminal justice there.

The WA Supreme Court, on July 10, vacated a 1916 ruling that allowed a prosecutor to bring criminal charges against a tribal fisherman as racist and unjust.  In this order, the justices wrote, "We take this opportunity to repudiate this case, its language, its conclusion, and its mis-characterization of the Yakima people...We cannot forget our own history, and we cannot change it.  We can, however, forge a new path forward, committing to justice as we do so."


LWVUS 2020 Convention Adopts the following resolution


We Resolve First, That the League advocates against systemic racism in the justice system and, at a minimum, for preventing excessive force and brutality by law enforcement. We also call for prompt actions by all League members to advocate within every level of government to eradicate systemic racism, and the harm that it causes;  

We Resolve Second, That the League help our elected officials and all Americans recognize these truths to be self-evident; that Black, Indigenous and all people of color (BIPOC) deserve equal protection under the law; and that we demand solutions for the terrible wrongs done, so that regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, and gender identity or sexual orientation we may truly become a nation "indivisible, with liberty and justice for all".





LWVUS Issues Statement on May 29, 2020  Addressing the police murder of George Floyd and violence against Black people everywhere.

The League of Women Voters grieves the murders of George Floyd and the countless other Black lives that have been tragically taken at the hands of rogue law enforcement officers who are rarely held fully accountable for their actions. 

We also mourn those who have lost their lives or been harmed, mentally or physically, as a result of America’s pervasive culture of anti-blackness. The systems of oppression that have perpetuated the myth of white supremacy in our country must be dismantled if we are ever to become the nation we pledge to be—indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

As an organization whose mission is to empower voters and defend democracy, we stand in solidarity with all Black communities. The League shall do so not only by speaking out against racism in all forms, but by doing the work required of us to be anti-racist. We are committed to listening to and amplifying Black voices, and educating ourselves and our children on the historic and ongoing systemic racism that plagues this country.

The League acknowledges, painfully, that America is a nation founded on racism. Therefore, all who live in this country must contribute to and participate in organizations actively working to achieve full liberation and inclusive freedom. We must all advocate for anti-racist policies at every level of government.

We join the League of Women Voters of Minnesota in calling on law enforcement officials to provide transparency during this investigation, and to seek justice for George Floyd, his family, and his community.

Finally, we echo the call of our partners at the NAACP: we must all vote in November – the road to change lies at the ballot box.


LWV-Tacoma/Pierce County  Letter to the Public: If not now, then when?  June 1, 2020

Addressing the League's need to go beyond just talking Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion nowClick here to read the letter.



Looking to learn more about race in America? UW professor emeritus Charles Johnson picks 4 books.

“Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison

“The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man” by James Weldon Johnson

“The World in Flames: A Black Boyhood in a White Supremacist Doomsday Cult” by Jerald Walker

“King: The Photobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.” by Bob Adelman and Charles Johnson 

And, your editor recommends "Middle Passage" by Charles Johnson.

Click here to read more about Dr. Johnson's recommendations.


Here are two books by David Treuer, Ojibwe, scholar and author, Ph.D., on faculty at Univ. of Southern California.

Rez Life: An Indian's Journey Through Reservation Life (2012).  A history of reservations including his own experience as Ojibwe on Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the Present (2019).  A remarkable history, something to read in small bites.

Here is a newly published book of interest:  Caste: The Origins of our Discontents  by Isabel Wilkerson.



Rescheduling of actual group meetings will be done as soon as we are confident about the ability to meet in-person.  But, reading is still a GO!

Remember, reading while cloistered is popular.

National Museum of African American History and Culture Releases “Talking About Race” Web Portal

Check out this website:

Links to Other Sites That May Help With Talks About Race*yHEtLp1_Z-5PicNDD66JKg    


Here is a link to an article interviewing Ibram X. Kendi about being an anti-racist and his book How to be an Antiracist




On July 21, 2020, the President signed a memorandum to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census count when determining how many seats in Congress will be given to each state. The rule requires Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to provide data on undocumented immigrants so they can be subtracted from the numbers provided by the Census committee.

The memo is the latest attempt by the Administration to change the way the population is counted as regards immigrants. The Supreme Court previously rejected the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census on constitutional grounds. The ACLU and other groups are expected to oppose the memo for the same reason. 



Upcoming Public Meeting to address   Who is Allowed to B an American? Supporting justice and fairness for our immigrant and refugee neighbors

The League of Women Voters of Thurston County (LWVTC) is sponsoring a community forum to address: Talks 

  • the latest threats faced by our immigrant and refugee neighbors,
  • steps being taken locally and statewide to mitigate these threats, and
  • actions we can take to support these efforts.

Co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Mason County, the Strengthening Sanctuary Alliance and other organizations focused on protecting the rights of immigrants and refugees, this forum supports the League’s positions on immigration as stated in Impact on Issues 2018-2020:  

Speakers who have been invited:

  • Rabbi Seth Goldstein from Temple Beth Hatfiloh in Olympia with words of inspiration about his congregation’s commitment to “welcome the stranger.”
  • Steffani Powell (practicing US Immigration Law in Olympia and member of Strengthening Sanctuary Alliance): a brief update on current issues and concerns e.g., restrictions on asylum applications, new “public charge” rules, and denaturalization efforts.
  • Ximena Velazquez-Arenas (attorney drafting rules to implement Keep Washington Working legislation (SB 5497). SB 5497 requires the state Attorney General to develop model policies limiting immigration enforcement in public schools, health facilities and shelters to ensure safe access for immigrants in Washington State.
  • Monserrat Padilla (director of 180 member Washington Immigration Support Network (WAISN): will provide an update on the WAISN legislative agenda including bills passed by the 2020 State Legislature.

For more information, please contact Karen Tvedt at or 360-584-4526.


LWVUS Position

The LWVUS priority statement related to Immigration is: Immigration policies should promote reunification of immediate families; market economic, business and employment needs; a nd be responsive to those facing political persecution or humanitarian crises. 

    The current Immigration System is far from meeting our expectations. In transition to a reformed system, the League supports provisions for unauthorized immigrants already in the country to earn legal status.
    The League supports federal payments to impacted communities to address the financial costs borne by states and local governments with large immigrant populations.  
    The League also opposed the Securing America’s Future Act of 2018, which would have put immigrant youth at risk of deportation and opposed actions at our borders to separate children from their families at the border and funding a wall at our southern border. During the 2018 Convention in Chicago, IL, League members marched in support of immigrants and families while protesting this and other pieces of related legislation. The League also opposed the Trump Administrations “Public Charge Rule,” which directed immigration officials to limit the entrance of immigrants who they deemed would become: more dependent on government funding” to meet their basic human needs.
    Because of a request made in 2016, the League clarified part of its position on immigration “to mean that simple illegal re-entry is not considered a ‘serious crime’ for League advocacy purposes.”
   In the 115th Congress (2017-2019), the League opposed the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy by the Trump Administration. In response, the League again advocated for passage of a clean DREAM Act in Congress. The LWVUS Lobby Corps lobbied both the House and the Senate on this issue.

June 17, 2019 -- Second Annual Hispanic Rountable Community Summit

LWV-TC participated in this summit, as an Exhibitor, as well as audience members.  It was especially fun to watch Amber Huffstickler as she did her graphic recording of the proceedings. 




One of many take home messages was that fully understanding, and being able to meet organizational goals in, a Multi-Cultural America is an evolving process.  It was suggested that it is important to have cultural awareness, gain in cultural competency, and enhance behavior with cultural humility.  The lively discussions made it easy to start a list of barriers that need to be addressed as League works on our confronting inequity agenda:  money, safe spaces for non-white voices to be heard, strong partnerships.

Having attended the Summit gave the three LWV-TC members who attended the opportunity to connect to the heart as well as the head.  We heard from informative speakers about immigration policy and the history of Latinx people in the United States.  We also heard the stories about how those policies hurt families, from the speakers and from individual attendees.  It was an opportunity for members from the dominant culture to listen and witness.  We learned a lot we can use to start a process of change.




During the 2018 Convention in Chicago, the National League of Women Voters(LWVUS) held several workshops to introduce their new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy:  LWV is an organization fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in principle and in practice.  

LWVWA Policy on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

LWV is an organization fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in principle and in practice. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the organization’s current and future success in engaging all individuals, households, communities, and policy makers in creating a more perfect democracy.

We will actively work to remove barriers to full participation in this organization regardless of gender, gender identity, ethnicity, race, native or indigenous origin, age, generation, sexual orientation, culture, religion, belief system, marital status, parental status, socioeconomic status, language, accent, ability status, mental health, educational level or background, geography, nationality, work style, work experience, job role function, thinking style, personality type, physical appearance, political perspective or affiliation and/or any other characteristic that can be identified as recognizing or illustrating diversity.


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