We held our first LGT Council meeting on Tuesday, May 11th 2023. We met at the Upper Skagit Cultural Center.
So far, the Council includes Upper Skagit Elders, Skagit Valley Catholic Churches, Mount Vernon Rotary, Burlington Lutheran Church, Skagit Valley YMCA, Skagit Unitarian Universalist Church, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints of Skagit County, Muslim Community of Skagit, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, Skagit County Community Action, Anacortes Family Center, and Spanish speaking communities. We continue to reach out to more groups in our communities.
We know that bringing people of diverse traditions together will be challenging. There has been so much historical trauma and current harm caused by racism and segregation.
We began our meeting with a prayer written by Vi Hilbert, revered Upper Skagit Elder. It was spoken by PTU volunteer Kay Knott, a family member of Vi’s and now an Elder herself. In a sentence that always humbles me, the prayer ends, “We are better together, we help each other in this way.”
I have written a pledge to help set the tone for our meetings, following Vi and Kay’s leadership:
We’re better together!
Yet we don’t know each other well:
- We sometimes make false assumptions about each other.
- We have often harmed one another.
Yet we are better together!
We the people can build a more perfect union:
- Learn from our past.
- Make it right with each other.
Let’s go together into our community, into our future together:
- Being ourselves.
- Celebrating our diverse traditions.
- And respecting each other’s contributions to our community.
We are better together! We help each other in this way!
Each of the Council members shared why they were there. All of them recognize that our society is in a great deal of pain right now. We are separated, almost as if we are legally segregated. This leaves us fearful, anxious, and lonely.
We decided a few things:
1. Our first event will take place sometime in early October.
2. We will look for a more public venue for our first community gatherings, possibly Skagit Valley College.
3. We will invite a number of public leaders, including elected leaders, key non-profit leaders, education leaders, and public safety officers.
4. Keep the number of people we will invite to the first year’s events on the lower side. This allows us to learn and grow in numbers as we grow in capacity.
I can’t wait to meet with these leaders again this summer and to plan our first public event. There will be challenges, but the vision of moving into our community and into our future together will make that worth it!
We help each other in this way.