Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 7, 2017

Rev. Laura Rose: June 6 statement

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

This statement was written by Rev. Laura Rose in preparation for the June 6, 2017 City Council meeting, but due to time limits, it was not read at the City Council meeting. Instead the statement was submitted by email to the Mayor and all members of the City Council by Rev. Rose the day after the City Council Meeting.

To see the additional comments made by Rev. Rose at the City Council meeting please see the video at the end of this piece.

Dear Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer and Alameda City Council Members,

First, I wish to publicly offer my sincere gratitude for all of the ways in which the City of Alameda has taken active steps to affirm the presence and promote the visibility of the LGBTQ community in our beloved city. These actions required both boldness and courage to do the right thing and to stand against hurtful homophobia in our community. I also want to commend all those in the Alameda community, including those who have served as city staff, for your proactive work in making the official City of Alameda Pride proclamation a reality, flying the Pride Flag as well as adopting the “Everyone Belongs Here” slogan and poster created by the AUSD LGBTQ Roundtable. I can’t tell you how much these public acts of affirmation have meant to me personally, to my family, to the LGBTQ community at large, and to the progressive LGBTQ-affirming faith communities here in Alameda.

However, in addition to offering these commendations, I feel compelled as a faith leader to publically acknowledge that the invitation by the City to the LGBTQ community to stand beside Mayor Spencer in a publicity photo reopens a deep and unhealed wound in our community. It reminds us of a time in the not so distant past when Mayor Spencer chose not to stand with the LGBTQ community while serving on the Board of Education. Instead Mayor Spencer chose to stand with those who were opposed to an AUSD anti-bullying curriculum because it included lessons that affirmed and gave visibility to LGBTQ people and families. Those who opposed the LGBTQ anti-bullying lessons did so on the grounds that these lessons infringed on their “religious liberty.” You will remember this defense was (and still is) the very same defense used by religious conservatives to protest Marriage Equality and to defend Proposition 8.

Those of us who sat through several Board of Education meetings both here at City Hall and in Kofman Auditorium were forced to listen to hundreds of speakers, many from outside Alameda, making the same repetitive derogatory and homophobic comments. None the less, Mayor Spencer not only stood by and watched as the LGBTQ community was bullied and maligned, she chose to defend those who were against the LGBTQ curriculum. The wound inflicted during the curriculum debate runs deep. To ask the same LGBTQ community to now stand in a photo with feels disingenuous as it asks us to put a happy face band aid over a reopened wound.

Mayor Spencer, I believe your intentions are to do the right thing. Tonight you have the opportunity to be an active agent in healing a deep wound within our community. I hope you will consider this opportunity to take this step.

Rev. Dr. Laura Rose



  1. When you say LGBTQ Community, who does that not include?

    Comment by Bart — July 7, 2017 @ 7:42 am

    • Conservatives

      Comment by jack — July 7, 2017 @ 8:08 am

    • Asexuals.

      Comment by Angela — July 7, 2017 @ 11:59 am

      • You are one if you say you are . . .

        Comment by Bart — July 7, 2017 @ 8:34 pm

  2. Mayor Responds
    Trish Spencer
    Alameda Sun, Thursday, June 22, 2017

    I write this as I grieve for my dear friend who passed this weekend. We were neighbors, raised kids together and are forever connected. Following both of our names will always be “Breast Cancer Warrior.” My journey started back in 2007, I was raising four kids, while serving as PTA Council President. When I was diagnosed, I was overseeing all the PTAs in Alameda as a volunteer.

    Thanks to the PTA community’s support, I continued to serve during my treatments. Then I decided to run for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) School Board. I vividly remember waiting in line to file my papers and the clerk asking me why I was running. Before answering, I reflected that my surgeon explained that — after I’d done eight rounds of chemo, two surgeries and five weeks of radiation — I needed to take daily chemo pills indefinitely, maybe for two years if I was lucky, that is, if my body lasts that long. So, I responded that as a recent cancer survivor I may not have forever to do things that are important to me, and I’m going to try now.

    So began my career as an elected official. I was twice elected AUSD School Board member in 2008 and 2012 and elected mayor in 2014. I still serve as your mayor. Alameda is an amazing community that has supported others, as well as my family through life’s joys and challenges. I have always done my best to support the entire Alameda community and when asked to vote, vote my conscience.

    Like everyone else, my life’s story is complex. I’m of Mexican-American descent, and I’m Alameda’s first Hispanic mayor. As a child growing up in Southeast Los Angeles County in a community called South Gate, I faced poverty and racism.

    Unfortunately, I, like many women of color, have experienced discrimination based upon race and gender at different times in my life. I’m also a “triple negative”: I am a breast cancer survivor; I have a rare aggressive type of breast cancer that disproportionately affects African-American and Hispanic women. I have breast cancer that — unlike the three common types of breast cancer — has no treatment. I am blessed, however. I have not had a recurrence, however, I continue to fight the side effects of the aggressive treatments I received.

    During my nine years as an elected official, I have been asked to make many difficult decisions. After listening to all the perspectives, I make what I believe is the best decision, often distilling complex issues to core values, applying the Golden Rule.

    I made one such decision in 2009, my first year on the School Board, regarding anti-bullying curriculum. I held that when AUSD decided to go from general anti-bullying curriculum to enumerating one protected class (LGBTQ) that it needed to also concurrently adopt anti-bullying curriculum similar to an anti-harassment policy: one that protected not one, but all protected classes: race, gender identity and gender expression, national origin, sexual orientation, disability and religion.

    Most argued for just adding the LGBTQ anti-bullying curriculum. Others reluctantly offered to start with LGBTQ because “their pain is greater than everyone else’s,” and later consider other protected classes. I argued then, as I believe today, that just as an anti-harassment policy prohibits all harassment and enumerates all protected classes, so should anti-harassment and anti-bullying curricula.

    Some disagreed, saying that racism no longer exists, as President Barack Obama was our President. We didn’t need to teach anti-bullying of those of color because we teach about slavery, or to those of faith because we teach about Anne Frank and the Holocaust. However, AUSD students are bullied for numerous reasons. These included wearing a hijab, fasting during Ramadan, being LGBTQ, being African-American, eating Asian food from home for lunch, being disabled and more.

    My position remains the same, we must include all protected classes. Our curriculum must support divergent cultures. We must stand against all animosity and embrace everyone: We all belong here.

    I want to thank the many people who joined me recently on the City Hall steps for a photo op supporting Pride. I also want to thank the three women who accepted the Pride Proclamation, and those who have reached out to me, thanking me for my efforts to support diversity here in Alameda. The Pride Proclamation is to all who want to join our City in celebrating Pride. It is a statement, as we all know not every city in the country nor around the world celebrates Pride.

    I have always had an open-door policy, regularly keeping long hours. If anyone has a concern, they are welcome to schedule an appointment to meet with me. Serving as mayor is an extension of my volunteer work, and I try my hardest to accommodate all.

    My nurse for my first cancer surgery taught me to “take each day as the day it is,” which to me means do the most with each day that I have. The community has supported me to serve our community as mayor, for which I am humbled and appreciative. I will continue my efforts to positively serve our entire community to the best of my ability.

    Comment by Anonymous — July 7, 2017 @ 9:49 am

    • Incoherent and evasive.

      Comment by BC — July 7, 2017 @ 10:48 am

      • And egotistic as hell.

        Comment by dave — July 7, 2017 @ 11:29 am

        • Agree. Who in the city needs to read the dreary background of an elected official who has an egoistic desire to appear altruistic. And almost the same applies to the good reverend who, in a public forum, claims to have “suffered” through the listening to people with whom she disagrees. Poor thing’s ego was wounded because she thinks only she is worth listening to, evidently.

          Comment by jack — July 8, 2017 @ 10:12 am

  3. Thank you, Rev. Dr. Laura Rose! It needed to be said. Thank you for being one of the great leaders on the island.

    Comment by TK — July 7, 2017 @ 6:27 pm

  4. I do not subscribe to either 1. I’m a minority so I can be a bigot against another group. Nor 2. All lives matter and fair is equal.

    The second argument is being used by many school districts now to deny services to children, particularly special ed. Equal is helping all to the same goal, not equal assistance. This is the same for the LGBTQ community.

    I will not listen to the same arguments used by the ‘oppressed Christiana white male” supporters of a certain politician.

    Comment by Retiredteacher — July 10, 2017 @ 8:03 am

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