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Dear Reader: Counter Hate With Love

Alayne Sulkin

Published on: May 28, 2016

Alayne Sulkin and family

“And I said to my child, ‘You are beautiful and perfect, and you can be a girl.’ And she said, ‘Really? I can?’ And I said, ‘Yes, you can, and I will help you.’” — Vlada Knowlton, mother, filmmaker and activist in opposition to Initiative 1515

Do you ever find yourself scratching your head, wondering what year we’re living in? The current Republican presidential candidate has the support of white supremacists. Violence against Jews is at an all time post-Holocaust high. Jewish students on American college campuses have come under attack, French Jews are targeted in grocery stores and neo-Nazis shout Hitler slogans in the streets of Europe. Many of my family members perished in the Holocaust and to me, it seems more like 1933 than 2016.

Activism is personal: Our hearts open wider when it is our child or family who is suffering, threatened by hatred, discrimination or bullying.

Enter stage left: Washington state’s bathroom battle. I-1515 seeks to repeal Washington’s decade-old non-discrimination law that, among other things, allows transgender people to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

Our friend and filmmaker Vlada Knowlton inspired our reporting. She shares the painful and powerful moment when her 4-year-old said, “I don’t want to be born. Please, put me back.” Hear how that moment inspired her to became a leader opposing I-1515. 

As Vlada shows, we as parents play a pivotal role in our children’s lives, in moments of both suffering and joy. Your father may be the greatest on earth, but who wouldn’t want to be adopted by Seattle’s restaurateur extraordinaire Ethan Stowell or “fish-maniac, food foraging” Dylan Tomine? These dads understand that our kids are expressions of how we raise them, and they make conscious efforts to build their kids’ confidence with each new skill, from pancake flipping to mushroom hunting.

Speaking of foraging, my jaw dropped learning about the local families in our feature, Off the grid and back to the land. While their lives, though impressive when measured by their carbon footprints (or lack there of), won’t change my electricity and car-addicted family, I urge you to consider some unplugged fun for yourself. My family had a particularly memorable and hilarious adventure at Sequim’s lavender fields and the Olympic Game Farm, which we will never forget.

Happy Father’s Day!

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