EDITORIAL: What Jefferson County, Washington, stands for

Posted 2/7/17

Jefferson County’s elected officials took a bold step Monday by approving a “human rights proclamation.” It’s a proclamation that could cost the county federal dollars should President Donald …

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EDITORIAL: What Jefferson County, Washington, stands for

Posted

Jefferson County’s elected officials took a bold step Monday by approving a “human rights proclamation.” It’s a proclamation that could cost the county federal dollars should President Donald Trump and friends interpret it as a slap in the face for their recent immigration policy. So be it.

And since it is The Leader’s responsibility to report on facts that make history, here’s the proclamation, as written and approved Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 by Jefferson County Commissioners Kathleen Kler, David Sullivan, Kate Dean, with county cosigners Jeff Chapman, assessor; Rose Ann Carroll, auditor; Ruth Gordon clerk; Michael Haas, prosecutor; Sheriff David Stanko; and Stacie Prada, treasurer.

The proclamation reads:

“WHEREAS, as elected officials of Jefferson County, we are committed to protecting the inalienable human rights, dignity and equality of all individuals, regardless of age, race, national origin, immigration and citizenship status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, martial status, religion, creed or mental or physical disability; and

WHEREAS, we have sworn an oath of office to support the Constitution and Laws of the United States and the State of Washington to uphold and protect the constitutional rights of individuals; and

WHEREAS, as a people, this nation has striven mightily to live up to and perfect its expression of those values, through a civil war and a Second World War, and through citizen movements such as the Suffrage movement of the 1890s and early 1900s, the Civil Rights movement of the mid-1990s, the Gay Rights and LGBT movement of the 1970s to the present, and many other movements for equality and tolerance, which, over time, have resulted in court cases and legislation in Washington, D.C., and Washington state that enshrine and protect the values of human rights, dignity and equality and

WHEREAS, Jefferson County serves all residents and we strive to make services accessible to all, and county agencies and law enforcement do not withhold services based on ancestry, race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration or citizenship status, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, physical or mental disability, or religion, and;

WHEREAS, the public relies on Jefferson County for protection of their civil and human rights and in turn, Jefferson County relies on public trust as critical to maintaining safe communities, we encourage residents to report instances of discrimination, harassment, violence, bullying and expression of hate based on difference, and

WHEREAS, history has tragically taught us that intolerance and discrimination are still potent threats to a just society, and that when people stand by and allow such acts to occur without speaking up or taking action, it can enable hatred, discrimination and intolerance to deepen and spread; and

WHEREAS, recent events and political uncertainty have shown the need for continued vigilance to ensure that human and civil rights, and the rule of law and due process are upheld;

NOW, THEREFORE, the elected officials of Jefferson County who have signed below hereby proclaim our unwavering commitment to the inalienable human rights and dignity of all individuals and equality under the law and constitution, and that we will continue to strive to make Jefferson County a welcoming place that is safe and healthy for all, free of discrimination and hatred, and we invited all residents to join us in safeguarding these values and promoting a climate of tolerance, inclusion and civic engagement in our community.”

Well said, Jefferson County.

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