As Women’s History Month comes to a close, I want to encourage you to reflect on the work the newly-formed Blacks United In Leadership and Diversity (BUILD) business resource group ICSEW does and continues to do.
Since before Washington gained its statehood from a territory in 1889 to now—women have been making an impact in government and laws regarding gender equity in all aspects of society. ICSEW is no exception.
Women’s History Month began as a celebration of Women’s History Week, the week of March 8th. In 1987, Congress passed a law designating March as Women’s History Month.
This year marks the centennial of the 19th amendment, which legalized the right to vote for United States citizens regardless of gender. Thus, the national theme for this year’s Women’s History Month, set by the National Alliance for Women’s History, is “Valiant Women of the Vote”. After decades of lobbying and fighting for women suffrage, women secured the right to vote on August 18, 1920 when the 19th amendment was ratified in the United States.
As part of the continued legacy of women fighting for their right to vote, and for equal participation in all facets of life, Washington’s former governor, Albert Rosellini, created the first iteration of the Interagency Committee of State Employed Women, ICSEW, in 1963 in response to President Kennedy’s Commission on the Status of Women. This national commission was established to investigate questions regarding women’s equality in education, the workplace and under the law.
Washington state’s subsequent governors continued this work. ICSEW expanded to include representation from educational institutes and the judicial system in Washington. In 2006, ICSEW was opened to representation from all state agencies and institutes of higher education.
Most recently, Gov. Jay Inslee reaffirmed ICSEW viaExecutive Order 16-04– committing his administration’s support to improving the lives of state employed women.
Part of ICSEW’s mission is examining and defining issues that pertain to the rights and needs of women employed in state government and to make policy recommendations to the governor and state agencies with respect to desirable changes in programs, polices, and laws especially in the area of education, training, career development and other conditions of employment.
ICSEW is also given the authority to advise state agencies on the development and implementation of comprehensive and coordinated policies, plans and programs focusing on the special issues and needs of women in state government.
Please join BUILD and ICSEW in celebrating Women’s History Month by taking time to learn and reflect on our collective national past, honor the sacrifices made by the scores of women before us, celebrate their hard won successes, and create visibility around the gaps that remain. There is still a lot of work to be done to bring us all closer to equality.
For a comprehensive look at ICSEW history, visit our Aboutpage.
OLYMPIA – The Governor’s Mansion Foundation will host a special “1909 Housewarming History” presentation during its Wednesday Mansion tours Jan. 8 and 15, 2020.
The tours, guided by Foundation docents will feature a first person presentation by “Zephorina Cosgrove;” wife of then Washington Governor Samuel Cosgrove. Cosgrove served as the sixth governor of the state of Washington and was a U.S. Civil War veteran and educator. Unfortunately, Governor Cosgrove became very ill after his fall election and died two months after his January inauguration — never living in the Mansion. “Mrs. Cosgrove’s” January presentation will highlight the events in January 1909 when the then new Governor’s Mansion opened its doors to dignitaries and Olympia residents for the first time.
How to Get a Spot on the Tour
Mansion tours are on a first-come, first-served basis. Each tour is open to 25 guests and times are 1:00, 1:20 and 1:40 p.m. Reservations MUST be made at least 24-hours in advance. To make a reservation go to https://apps.des.wa.gov/Mansion/Mansion.aspx . For questions or additional information, please contact the State Capitol Tour Office at (360) 902-8880.
Adult tour guests must present photo identification and all visitors under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. No umbrellas, strollers, or food/drink will be allowed on the tour. The Mansion is accessible to wheelchairs and walkers. Visitors must walk a 200-yard incline up to the entrance.
Visitors to the Georgian-style mansion, situated on a bluff overlooking Capitol Lake, Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, will get a 25- minute walking tour of the Mansion. The circa-1908 Mansion is the oldest building on Olympia’s Capitol Campus. Visitors will get guided tours of the Mansion’s permanent collection of antique furnishings and Northwest artwork, including the renowned wall-size murals of Washington scenes in the state dining room.
About the Foundation:
The Governor’s Mansion Foundation, an all-volunteer, non-profit, non-partisan organization, hosts weekly tours of the Mansion on most Wednesdays (except holidays and the month of August). For more information on the GMF, visit https://wagovmansion.org/
Story and photos by Rachel Friederich, Washington State Department of Corrections
GIG HARBOR – “When our powers combine, we change lives.”
Those are the words displayed above Corrections Specialist Lynne Newark’s computer. She repeats the words to participants in her cognitive behavioral intervention classes at Washington Corrections Center for Women.
“Those are some of the affirmations I go by,” Newark said. “If I am motivated, it’s going to be easy for me to motivate. And it’s going to be easier for others to become motivated.”
It’s also a mantra she’s lived since high school. Newark (whose maiden name is Nitschke) helped her school’s first girls’ basketball team win the state championship following a 33-game winning streak. Newark’s team, the Jamestown North Dakota Blue Jays, were the school’s first girls basketball team following enactment of Title IX. President Richard Nixon signed the landmark Title IX law in 1972. It prohibits gender discrimination in federally funded education programs, including sports.
The Right to Play
Sports have always played an important role in Newark’s life. She started playing softball in elementary school, began running track in the eighth grade, and ended up becoming a seven-time state track and field qualifier by the time she graduated high school.
Newark yearned to play basketball. But without a girls’ basketball coach, she had to teach her herself. Occasionally, there would be a basketball activity in her school’s regular gym class. But Newark honed her skills by watching the boys’ games and imitating what she saw with a backyard basketball hoop.
“I had to sit and watch back then,” Newark said. “We didn’t have the right, if you will, to have a girls’ team or be part of the boys’ team. I learned to play by watching and then I would go do it.”
Newark recalled most of the “official” girls sports the school had before Title IX were mostly no-contact sports, like golf, swimming and track. Even in track, the longest running distance for girls was shorter than that for boys.
“It was of long-standing belief that girls were ‘too delicate’ back then,” Newark said.
Newark said many of the girls with whom she played sports were natural athletes and shared her competitive spirit. So they were ecstatic in 1973 when they found out they could sign up for the girls’ basketball team.
“I wanted to play,” Newark said. “Finally! We’re getting our chance. Finally! We have a girls’ team. Basketball was something I’d been doing forever and now I get the chance to be a part of a team to do that.”
A Winning Team
Newark says despite Title IX guaranteeing the same access to sports and program activities, there were still resources the girls’ team lacked that would be unheard of today.
Newark and her teammates had to create makeshift basketball jerseys by taping numbers to the back of track uniforms. The girls’ team also had fewer coaches than the boys’ team. And neither team had athletic trainers.
Newark said it didn’t dampen the team’s spirit because, “When you’re young like that, we were just happy we got to play. We didn’t play the ‘poor me card.’ We didn’t question, ‘if the boys got this, why don’t the girls get this?’ We didn’t care if we had to wear the track uniforms and tape on our numbers. We just wanted to play.”
Before Title IX, one in 27 girls played sports, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), which advocates for girls and women to reach their potential in sports and life through coaching resources and various programming. Today that number is two in five.
The Blue Jays efforts earned the team some major props. On Oct. 4, 2019, Jamestown High School (JHS) honored Newark, 10 teammates and two coaches. They returned to JHS as part of a ceremony inducting the 1974 girls’ basketball team into the Jamestown High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
“We won that championship 45 years ago, but it seems like yesterday,” Newark said. “When we all got together, it was so unbelievable we still had such a connection. Granted we’re all wearing reading glasses now, and some of our perspectives have changed. It was like 45 years hadn’t even passed.”
Sports remained a huge part of Newark’s life post-high school. After graduating from Jamestown, she attended Dickinson State University (DSU) in North Dakota. During college, she ran track and played volleyball and basketball. In 1979, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education. DSU inducted Newark into it’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.
Newark enlisted in the United States Air Force and served in the Air Force for four years as a radio communications analyst. During that time, she played on the military base sports teams including volleyball, basketball and softball.
After leaving the Air Force, she and her husband, whom she met in the military, moved to Corvallis, Oregon. Newark did some substitute teaching at local schools while coaching high school volleyball, basketball and track. During the summers, Newark worked at the local parks and recreation department as a youth sports coordinator.
From the Court to Corrections
In 1989, the Department of Corrections hired Newark as a recreation specialist at the former McNeil Island Corrections Center (MICC). She worked at MICC for four years and then spent three years at the former Tacoma Pre-Release Center. She and her husband decided to move to Greece. While in Greece, Newark worked for the Morale, Welfare and Recreation division of the military.
In 2003, Newark returned to the states and got a job as a recreation specialist at Washington Corrections Center for Women. In 2016, she became a corrections specialist.
Newark currently facilitates two programs, Moving On and Beyond Violence. The programs are designed specifically for incarcerated women. Historically, corrections practices had been tailored for incarcerated males. But in recent years, studies have shown those practices can’t be used in the same way when caring for incarcerated females. And the need is becoming more urgent. According to the National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women (pdf), the number of women in U.S. prisons has increased by more than 700% and has outpaced men by more than 50%.
The department launched these programs as part of its work in its Gender Responsive Initiative. The initiative trains prison staff to focus on specific needs of incarcerated females. It includes developing more gender responsive programming, educating staff on effects of trauma, creating risk and needs assessments for women and making female-specific clothing and hygiene products available to incarcerated women.
Newark has impacted the lives of countless women over the years. The women she interacts with often have stories of untold violence, drug addiction and anguish. Many have been victims of sexual assault before ever entering the justice system. Most have not been shown what it means to live a healthy lifestyle.
Newark has incorporated the life lessons she’s learned from sports into the classroom. Her goal is to help the women cope with the effects of what’s often a lifetime of trauma that has led to their incarceration.
For example, one of her classes has a unit on crossroads. The women self-reflect on the past choices they’ve made that led them to their crimes. Newark says the decision to join the high school track team, as an eighth-grader, was her crossroads. At first, her parents didn’t want her to join the team. But they relented after much poking and prodding from Newark. Newark says it was her saving grace.
“I tell my students that was my crossroads,” Newark said. “If my parents hadn’t allowed me to use my competitiveness and energy towards sports, I would have gone in the same direction as my friend, who got addicted to drugs and alcohol. It kept me grounded. It kept me active. It kept me focused on the taking the right fork in the road.”
Newark said coaching the women is like coaching athletes. She says the best part about her job is seeing people change.
“Seeing and hearing improvement in self-confidence is what is really impactful,” Newark said. “Having a student start off really ambivalent and then the light goes on and the switch in thinking happens. It’s a very powerful moment for everyone.”
The Next Chapter
What’s next for Newark? Newark is retiring in February 2020 after 23 years in corrections. She and her husband are planning on moving back to Greece. And in May, in true athletic style, Newark will participate in the Camino Francés. It’s a 500 mile journey by foot that starts in St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France, crosses the Pyrenees mountains and finishes in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. On average, the walk takes between 32-35 days.
While Newark is on the trail, she’ll be living by the principles that have guided her on the basketball court and in her personal and professional life.
“If we want to make change, if we want to be the best that we can possibly be, we have to practice and we have to believe in ourselves and that we can do it.”
About the Author: Rachel Friederich is also the Communications Chair for the Interagency Committee of State Employed Women, ICSEW.
March is Women’s History Month. The Governor’s Mansion will be offering a special series of public tours with docents wearing period clothing and giving presentations about various “First Ladies” of the state’s history. Below is the information from the Department of Enterprise Services.
OLYMPIA — Meet some of Washington’s First Ladies and one Governor on “special first-person tours” of the Washington state Governor’s Mansion on Wednesdays March 6, at 2 and 2:20 p.m.; March 13, at 1 and 1:20 p.m.; and March 27, at 2 and 2:20 p.m.
The tours, part of Women’s History Month in March, will feature Governor’s Mansion Foundation docents dressed “in character.” They will share historical moments about the people and events of the Mansion throughout its 110-year history.
From the early years of the Mansion through the dramatic events of two wars and the history-making tenure of the state’s first woman governor, Dixy Lee Ray, visitors will learn and enjoy important history through this personal and unique trip through the Mansion. The First Ladies spotlighted on the 40-minute tour will include Lizzie Hay, Alma Lister, Margaret Martin, Evelyn Langlie, Mabel Wallgren, Lois Spellman and Nancy Evans.
“It is important to point out that current First Lady, Trudi Inslee, has helped the Foundation make these tours possible,” said Dawna Donohue, vice president and chair of the Mansion Tours. “Her support and cooperation have been priceless to help the Foundation continue its mission.”
For questions or additional information, please contact the State Capitol Tour Office at 360.902.8880.
Governor’s Mansion tours are available every Wednesday (except holidays and the month of August). All tours are made possible by the Governor’s Mansion Foundation.
Adult tour guests must present photo identification and all visitors under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. No cameras, umbrellas, strollers, or food/drink will be allowed on the tour. The Mansion is accessible to wheelchairs and walkers. Visitors must walk a 200-yard incline up to the entrance.
Visitors to the Georgian-style mansion, situated on a bluff overlooking Capitol Lake, Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, will get a 45- minute walking tour of the Mansion. The circa-1908 Mansion is the oldest building on Olympia’s Capitol Campus.
Visitors will get guided tours of the Mansion’s permanent collection of antique furnishings and Northwest artwork, including the renowned wall-size murals of Washington scenes in the state dining room.
Governor’s Mansion Foundation
The Governor’s Mansion Foundation, an all-volunteer, non-profit, non-partisan organization, hosts weekly tours of the Mansion on most Wednesdays (except holidays and the month of August).
To learn more on becoming a “Friend of the Mansion”, or for more information on the GMF, visit www.wagovmansion.org.
Tess Gallagher born in Port Angeles Washington in 1943 found her voice through poems, essays, and short stories. She studied creative writing at the University of Washington. Gallagher wrote extensively throughout her life, encouraged by her husband Raymond Carver. Her honors include a fellowship at the Guggenheim Foundation, two National Endowment for the Arts awards, the Maxine Cushing Gray Endowed Libraries Visiting Writers Fellowship, and the Elliston Award. Tess continues to teach, write, and speak publically. She published two collections of love poems dedicated to her late husband, and an essay titled Instead of Dying. From Willingly “This is ownership, you think, arriving in the heady afterlife of paint smell. A deep opening goes on in you. Some paint has dropped onto your shoulder as though light concealed an unsuspected weight. You think it has fallen through you. You think you have agreed to this, what has been done with your life, willingly.”
Alice Lord arrived in Seattle in 1892, quickly taking a “pink collar” job, working 12-hour days for a weekly wage of between $5 and $6. In 1900, Alice became an instrumental figure in founding the Waitresses’ Union, Local 240, one of the few women’s unions with a national charter in the American Federation of Labor. Despite opposition from local police and business owners, the Waitresses’ Union led the coalition to pass an 8 hour workday, and the 6 day workweek in 1911. Lord continued to be an outspoken advocate for fair wages. Her work had an impact. In 1913, Washington state enacted the $10 per week minimum wage for women. Although she advocated for “working women,” Lord had a defined view of married women and women of ethnic descent barring Asian and African American waitresses’ from union membership. Lord, a strong independent woman, reminds us that justice is most beneficial when everyone enjoys equality.
Dorothy Hollingsworth played a critical role in Seattle’s education system. She was born in South Carolina in 1920, and moved to Seattle in 1946. Hollingworth worked in Seattle’s Central District as a social worker in the 1950s and 1960s. Dorothy became the first director of Seattle’s Public Schools’ Head Start program in 1965 and served as the first African-American woman on the Seattle School Board from 1975-1981. She continued to serve as the director of early childhood education and was a member of the Washington State Board of Education. In 1966, after protesting racial segregation in Seattle Public Schools, communities organized the Seattle school boycott of 1966 connecting local issues to the national struggle for racial justice. Hollingsworth served her community by standing up for quality education for all children regardless of race, gender, or economic background.
Ann Reinking, born in Bellevue in 1949, performed with the English Royal Ballet at the age of twelve. Moving to New York at 17, she worked extensively as an actress, dancer, and choreographer. Ann starred on Broadway for most of her career including Chicago, Sweet Charity, All that Jazz, and Annie. In 1994, Reinking founded the Broadway Theater Project to connect students with seasoned theater professionals. In 2001, she won the Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer and received an honorary doctorate from Florida State University. Even now, dance and theater fill Ann’s life. She continues to judge dance competitions for inner-city youth in New York City, choreographs Broadway productions, and sits on the advisory committee for the American Theatre Wing. Reinking’s dedication to raising awareness of Marfan syndrome comes from a personal connection and she works closely with the Marfan Foundation.
All of us are born with a gift, sometimes life challenges make sharing those gifts difficult. Octavia E. Butler began writing at the age of 10, a shy, awkward, slightly dyslexic, African-American diving into the world of science fiction. Octavia’s style of writing focused on marginalized characters and communities often exposing the underside of humanity while giving hope for the future. Octavia received multiple Hugo and Nebula awards, and became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Fellowship. Butler once described herself as a “47-year-old writer who can remember being a 10-year-old writer and who expects someday to be an 80-year-old writer. I am also comfortably asocial—a hermit…. A pessimist if I’m not careful, a feminist, a Black, a former Baptist, an oil-and-water combination of ambition, laziness, insecurity, certainty, and drive.”