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January 6, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 01
 
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EQUALITY DAY: JANUARY 23, 2006
EQUALITY DAY: JANUARY 23, 2006
About sixty miles south of Seattle, 148 people make decisions that affect us all. In their hands, once again, is the anti-discrimination bill that was first introduced in the Washington State Legislature 30 years ago.

You probably know about our narrow defeat last year, just one vote shy of winning in the Senate. It was the first time the Senate had ever voted on the bill, and both the floor debate and the vote itself brought enough drama to please any queen. The result was heartbreaking, but it raised awareness to unprecedented levels. And when the Stranger broke the story that Microsoft had withdrawn its support from the bill-after a long record of support-the bill received national, even international attention. Microsoft changed its stance, committing more firmly to LGBT rights on the state and national level. And our community gained some momentum.

This year, the state legislature has a short session, just 60 days in which to take care of everything before it. We need to make sure the anti-discrimination bill is a priority, and that all our legislators hear from their constituents that this bill is supported across the state, in every district.

Equal Rights Washington has teamed up with the Religious Coalition for Equality to coordinate Equality Day. On January 23, people from all over the state will gather in Olympia to rally on the Capitol steps and meet with their representatives and senators. It is critical that the media and lawmakers see an overwhelming crowd standing up for LGBT equality. And that every legislator receive personal visits from her or his constituents.

You can play an important part in Equality Day, and in passing the anti-discrimination bill. Here's how to help us make history:

1) Join us in Olympia! Busses and carpools will travel to Olympia from all over the state. We'll provide advocacy workshops in the morning to help you prepare to talk with your legislator, and the rally - including performances by Seattle Men's Chorus and Seattle Women's Chorus - will inspire you. To register for the day, visit www.equalityday.org or call the ERW office at 206-324-2570.

2) Spread the word. Tell everyone you know in Washington state about Equality Day and urge them to participate. Don't forget about your mother in Gray's Harbor, your high school friend in Issaquah, or your ex in Yakima. Send them to www.equalityday.org to sign up.

3) Help us prepare for the event. You can join a committee to help us spread the word across the state, donate money to pay for necessities such as portable toilets and microphones, or give a couple of hours stuffing packets of information for rally-goers. If you have any time to offer, we can put you to work! Email info@equalrightswashington.org or indicate that you're interested in volunteering when you register at www.equalityday.org.

4) Meet with your legislators. You can meet with your legislators even if you can't join us on Equality Day. You can make an appointment to see them a different day in Olympia. The important thing is that they hear from you.

5) Join Equal Rights Washington. We need you on Equality Day and all through the year. ERW is your statewide LGBT political advocacy organization, and its only as strong as its membership. If you're already a member, talk to friends and family members about joining, or consider giving a membership as a gift. Visit www.equalrightswashington.org to join.

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