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County Commissioners sign declaration against hate

The three Kitsap County commissioners signed a “Declaration of Independence from Hate” petition last Tuesday at the Kitsap County Courthouse. The petition, meant to mirror the nation’s Declaration of Independence, was sponsored by a variety of area human rights groups as part of a “Too Great to Hate” campaign in the county.  Front to back: Commissioners Tim Botkin, Chris Endresen and Jan Angel. - Photo by Rogerick Anas
The three Kitsap County commissioners signed a “Declaration of Independence from Hate” petition last Tuesday at the Kitsap County Courthouse. The petition, meant to mirror the nation’s Declaration of Independence, was sponsored by a variety of area human rights groups as part of a “Too Great to Hate” campaign in the county. Front to back: Commissioners Tim Botkin, Chris Endresen and Jan Angel.
— image credit: Photo by Rogerick Anas

Kitsap County leaders and regular joes Tuesday scribbled their John Hancocks to declare their independence from hatred.

The putting-pen-to-cloth ceremony at the Kitsap County Courthouse was centered around the nation’s impenetrable Declaration of Independence, which epitomizes personal freedoms.

From it came the Articles of Confederation, The Constitution and this week its words helped launch Kitsap County’s “Too Great to Hate” campaign.

“What better time to do this than the Fourth of July,” said Sally Olsen, chairwoman for the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights.

The council is part of an informal alliance of organizations including the NAACP, Kitsap Human Rights Network, PFLAG, Kitsap Unitarian Universalists Fellowship and Ethnic Unity Coalition seeking to put an end to hate in the county.

The “Too Great to Hate” campaign is aimed at educating people about hate, discrimination and prejudice and putting a stop to it.

But how do these groups plan to get hateful people to listen?

“I don’t have an answer but we’re trying,” said Al Andrus, a four year member of the human rights council.

Trying means reminding people through education and events such as this that people are created with equal rights.

“I firmly believe through education we can reduce and eliminate hate,” Olsen said.

Campaigns such as this have been started in Idaho and Alaska, Olsen said.

People including Kitsap County commissioners, judges, and people passing in front of the auditor’s office were encouraged to sign their names to reaffirm their rights.

The banner was displayed at the courthouse and will be unfurled at the Kitsap County Fair, the Blackberry Festival and at the council’s conference in December.

The Kitsap Council for Human Rights, a county commissioner-appointed board, meets the 6 p.m., the second Tuesday of the month at Eagle’s Nest. Its members develop solutions or plans to the board of commissioners regarding human rights.

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