Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday Greetings & Activities including a Farewell Open House to our dear Brittain Family

 Our dear friends Susan and Cindy Brittain are heading out of town on a new journey.
 The Chestertown community of their friends are holding a 
Farewell Open House 
WHEN: Friday the 9th of January, 2015 at 6 to 9 PM
WHERE: 101 N. Cross St., Chestertown, MD 21620
Emmanuel Church Hall
Live Music and Light Fare will be provided to accompany your farewell wishes.
If you would like to contribute a beverage to share, please bring them to the beverage table.
If you would like to share your musical gifts, please bring along your voice or instrument.  
Philip Dutton and the Alligators will be on hand to get the music started.
We know some of our generous guests may want to bring a send off gift. We gave this a lot of thought and simply request that you help us lighten our load, and appreciate that you consider only gasoline gift cards and/or a note/photograph for the road. 
Absolutely no "things”
Snow Date Plan: Sunday 11 January 6 to 9 PM
Please check the Brittain’s Facebook or or
                 call 443 480 3138 (Linda Dutton) for a voicemail message if the snow date is on.

 So....what else is cookin?  There are soooo many ideas and opportunities available to us in 2015.  We have a great year ahead!

As a follow up to recent vigil held in Chestertown, I want to share the article below.  It was shared with me by our friend Doug Rose.  Here is the background...

Representing PFLAG Chestertown, I was proud to participate in organizing and speaking at the Vigil held in Fountain Park on Friday December 5, 2014.  My decision to participate using our PFLAG Chestertown Chapter name was made without time for discussion. This article from the Huffington Post explains why “my gut” felt it was the right thing to do as an LGBT advocacy organization. 

I want to acknowledge the support of the Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River (UUCR) as well. Their social justice work is important locally. (They provide our chapter meeting and resource library space.) The use of their Standing on the Side of banner and the information it shares on the corresponding website is non denominational. It is a visible tool offered to our community by UUCR for anyone or group who would like to borrow it.
You will see it when you attend the annual Chester Valley Ministerial Association (CVMA) MLK 7 AM Breakfast in Rock Hall on Monday January 19th. Tickets are still only $10…buy them at the door, or call Carolyn Brooks at 443 480 0128 for more information.

In next week's email I will update you about several more local opportunities for building friendships and socializing while we continue to work together for healthy and safe communities on the beautiful Eastern Shore.  Read on.... 
Writer, educator, and activist
Founder of The Counter Narrative Project. Writer and activist, interested in the intersections of race, gender,and sexuality. Follow me on twitter: @CharlesStephen2

An Open Letter to Mainstream LGBT Organizations That Have Remained Silent on Black Lives Mattering

Posted: 12/16/2014 8:59 am EST Updated: 12/16/2014 8:59 am EST

Many Americans seem to only remember one of the two namesakes of the 2009federal hate-crime bill signed into law by President Obama: Matthew Shepard. Similarly, many Americans also seem to only remember the bill as the Matthew Shepard Act. However, this abbreviated mention conveniently leaves out the other person for whom the act is named: James Byrd Jr.
Shepard was a white, gay college student who was brutally assaulted by two homophobes near Laramie, Wyoming, and died six days following the heartrending attack. His death now haunts our collective consciousness, reminding us that hate against LGBT people might surely mean death.
James Byrd Jr., on the other hand, was a Black man from Texas. Byrd was ruthlessly murdered by three men, two of whom identified as white supremacists. His ankles were chained to the back of a pickup truck, and he was dragged approximately three miles along an asphalt road in Jasper, Texas. In the process, his head and right arm were severed from his body. His torso was eventually left in front of a cemetery that mostly contained the bodies of other Black people. Whereas Shepard was murdered because of his perceived sexual identity, Byrd was killed because he was Black.
Why did we feel the need to write this open letter to mainstream LGBT organizations with a reference to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act? Why have we felt the need to point to the failure on the part of the American populace to rightly acknowledge the atrocities that ended the lives of both namesakes? Because it illuminates the dangers of focusing on one type of identity-based violence -- the violence that impacts LGBT people -- while willfully ignoring the police and vigilante violence that impacts Black queer- and trans-identified people, as well as all Black people: Mike Brown's bloodied and lifeless body was left on a hot Missouri street for 4.5 hours; the world bore witness to video clips of Eric Garner uttering his final words, "I can't breathe!", as a police officer choked him to death; Marlene Pinnock was brutally pounded by a white, male police officer on a highway in the middle of the day; and Black trans women like Erycka Morgan and Islan Nettles, and many whose names we do not lift up, continue to be viciously attacked and killed.
We can no longer sit idly by as you, mainstream LGBT organizations, center your movements and advocacy work on some within our varied communities but not others. We are no longer OK with the mainstream LGBT organizations among you who signal your complicity in anti-Black violence through your loud silence and deliberate ignoring of the types of systemic, institutionalized forms of anti-Black racism that negatively impact Black queer and trans people (and all Black people), disallow Black well-being, and deaden us.
And while there have been some awareness and recognition of the fact that anti-Black racism materializes in ways that stifle Black freedom and lives, it is insufficient for LGBT organizations to merely acknowledge these horrific events. The morally courageous thing to do is take action. And organizations like the Audre Lorde Project, the Anti-Violence Project, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and INCITE! cannot do the necessary intersectional work alone.
We are calling for a bigger commitment and a more radically inclusive vision from LGBT organizations. We are calling for an agenda and a commitment to combating racism as forcefully and unshakably as your commitment to standing against homophobia. We are calling for a new, multivariate LGBT agenda that acknowledges and advances recognition of the humanity and suffering of Black people. We are calling for an agenda that not only expresses awareness but demonstrates, through tangible actions, a value for Black life. And should you not, we can only conclude that Black lives do not matter to you.
Movements are not built on the backs of the most vulnerable in the service of the needs and whims of the most privileged. Movements are built and succeed when they begin at the most marginal of spaces -- always evaluating who's positioned in the center of power and always ensuring that asymmetrical power relations are corrected so that we might exist in a more equitable society.
Some of us within the LGBT spectrum are Black. Our lives matter too.
Follow Darnell L. Moore on Twitter:


Stay safe and warm everyone...LD

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Join us: Tuesday, December 16th PFLAG Chestertown Chapter                                                                    Monthly Meeting, 7 pm, UUCR

We hope your holidays are shaping up to bring you some special time with those important folks in your life.  We also hope you will consider spending an evening with your local friends in our chapter!  On Tuesday December 16th, at 7 pm we will meet at the Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River church at 914 Gateway Drive in Chestertown. 

Everyone is welcome to attend...and we mean EVERYONE!

We plan to informally share our experiences and reactions to the recent national and local events related to our justice system.  PFLAG National has signed on to a letter of support (and we will reviewed it) and locally our chapter participated in the Chestertown Christmas Parade (that was fun!) and a Vigil in Fountain Park last Friday night…let’s brainstorm and share what we can offer one another to improve these serious dynamics in our local and nationwide communities.

On a lighter note, we also want to toast the many social justice advances for our LGBTQ family and friends in 2014 and exciting opportunities ahead in 2015!  Together we are working to make this world a better place for all.  Snacks and beverages to share are welcome!  I'll bring some savory goodies!  Who will cover the sweet tooths?

ALSO...Save the DATE:  Friday January 6, 6-9 pm for the Brittain Family Farewell Open House

More details to be shared soon!

Linda Dutton, Secretary 

PFLAG Chestertown Maryland Chapter

Parents, families, friends, and allies united with LGBTQ Communities
Serving the mid and upper Eastern Shore of Maryland
with Education, Support and Advocacy Services
monthly meetings on third Tuesdays 7 pm Sept-May
locations and dates may vary so check out:

 443 480 3138 Leave a message please

Friday, December 5, 2014

Vigil tonight Dec 5 7pm Fountain Park Chestertown

Please see the attached flier for the vigil being held tonight, Dec. 5th at Fountain Park at7pm.  Linda Dutton is helping organize this along with PFLAG and the Mediation Center and others.  This is an opportunity to show UU support and to Stand on the Side of Love.  Please wear all black and help blackout injustice.

Unfortunately the flyer for this event is unable to be posted and we know it is a rainy First Friday with many competing events. We have so many opportunities to share.  Maybe we will get some photos to post later. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hi friends,

We had a wonderful walk down High Street in Chestertown as part of the Christmas Parade yesterday.  Our Kent County High School and area youthful friends showed their pride and presence as we followed the KCHS band near the beginning of the line up.  We are thrilled that the GSA at the school is meeting regularly and is announced over the school intercom! I really appreciate what a big change this for everyone.

The other joy to share is that our Transgender Day of Remembrance event was also very special.  We had large crowd of thoughtful friends as well as special guests.  The photo shows our team and our new friends who are Two Spirits leaders in both the Native American and Trans communities.  We would love to have them return again to share their talents, expertise and wisdom.  

Finally, We want to encourage you all to engage your heads and hearts to work for more peace and safety in our community and larger world.   One opportunity is to attend a Vigil to honor and respect the Ferguson MO community.  Next Friday December 5 at 7 pm a gathering will take place in Fountain Park in Chestertown.  We hope you will consider attending....the next blog post will be the flier announcing the vigil.

And several other programs also speak to safety...and are available to us.  Please see the attached information about the Safe Spaces training opportunities.  Our meetings for Dec as well as the winter months ahead are full of wonderful folks offering to give to our community. Please know that we are open to giving to our members...and hope you will also tell us what interests you.  Thanks to everyone who has already renewed their memberships!