In the light of the events of January 6, we are reminded that words matter, stories matter, art matters.
Truth, Equity and Justice matter.
Leadership is speaking truth to power, clearly and strongly setting out what needs to be said. Seeking to inflame people’s desires and prejudices is the currency of demagoguery. I do not claim to be a statesman. In writing this letter, I agonized over the use of loaded words – the language is antithetical to my being, but what we saw at the Capitol Building was not an act of protest or mere vandalism and no other words suffice to describe the dark history of this day.
On January 6th, vandals and thugs directly and violently attacked the United States Congress, the people who are charged with governing our nation, and the Capitol Building, the seat of our democracy.
As a result of that attack, lives were needlessly lost. We all watched in disbelief and horror as the Capitol of the United States of America was sacked, defiled and looted by demagoguery and insurrection. Make no mistake, the goal was to violently disrupt and overthrow the beating heart of our democracy and the will of the American People.
The attack threatens the way we as a nation govern ourselves – the essential respect we must show if our democracy is to survive. Democracy requires that we accept that sometimes we will lose and that while we can seek to overturn decisions we disagree with, we cannot govern by violence.
I’m grateful that the state of our Legislative and Judicial branches of our democracy remains strong.
All I can ask is that you keep the faith in our Constitution and use your voice, your industry, your time and your heart & passion to support and defend democracy in our country.
Your work matters!
We have a voice and we worked hard to create a platform to exercise our collective constitutional right of free speech, by and for Alaskans. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance on the part of all citizens, no matter how dark the day.
“It is easy to lie with words. But our actions and our art will always speak honestly about us, our soul, and where we are at that moment in our life … “ — Jack Dickerson, painter and artist
President, Perseverance Theatre
A Full and Complete Explanation on Kevin Clarkson
Last year the highest law officer in the state, then Attorney General Kevin Clarkson, willfully violated Alaska law when he sexually harassed a female colleague with unwanted physical touch and over 500 text messages of a romantic and/or sexual nature.
Governor Dunleavy and his Chief of Staff, Ben Stevens, also broke the law when: 1) they knowingly allowed the harassment to continue and 2) their administration instructed the unnamed state employee to refrain from discussing evidence. Instead of facing punishment, Mr. Clarkson was allowed to quietly resign after local media covered the story.
With a new year under way, the Dunleavy administration has yet to release a report.
As Alaskans who care about safety in the workplace we, the undersigned, call for a full and complete explanation of the sexual harassment by former Attorney General Kevin Clarkson as well as the Dunleavy administration’s response, to include:
•An official report on the violations of state law described above
•Why Governor Dunleavy and Mr. Stevens knowingly failed to prevent a member of their administration from committing a crime against a state employee
•What protocols Governor Dunleavy and Mr. Stevens had in place to prevent and address sexual harassment crimes within the Dunleavy administration
•If, how, and to what degree these protocols were followed
•Why Mr. Clarkson was allowed to retain his position as attorney general after credible evidence of sexual harassment was brought forward
•Why the Dunleavy administration instructed the employee to refrain from discussing evidence of this crime
Furthermore, we call for:
•The resignation of Dunleavy administration Chief of Staff Ben Stevens based on neglect of duties
All Alaskans are guaranteed basic protections by the laws of our state, including those that safeguard us in the workplace. Likewise, each and every Alaskan is accountable to them, regardless of position or power. The burden of responsibility for upholding these laws is grave and ultimately entrusted to those of the highest office—among them the attorney general, the governor’s chief of staff, and the governor himself. In this, the Dunleavy administration has intentionally failed and must be held to account.
Beth Adams, Anchorage; Dr. Elizabeth Alexander, Fairbanks; Dr. Vera Alexander, Fairbanks; Eleanor Andrews, Anchorage; Polly Carr, Anchorage; Sara Chappell, Haines; Lin Davis, Juneau; Paula DeLaiarro, Anchorage; Meda DeWitt, Anchorage; Diane DiSanto, Anchorage; Barbara Donatelli, Palmer; Nicole Eiseman, Fairbanks; Berta Gardner, Anchorage; Joelle Hall, Peter’s Creek; Anne W. Hanley, Fairbanks; Erin Jackson, Anchorage; Ann Jamieson, Fairbanks; Aldona Jonaitis, Fairbanks; Heather Kendall-Miller, Anchorage; Janie Leask, Homer; Amber Lee, Anchorage; Maureen Longworth, MD, Juneau; Genevieve Mina, Anchorage; Hilary Morgan, Anchorage; Phyllis Morrow, Fairbanks; Myra Munson, Juneau; Vicki Otte, Wasilla; Beth Short-Rhoads, Sitka; Peggy Shumaker, Fairbanks; Jenny-Marie Stryker, Anchorage; Ingrid Taylor, Fairbanks; Melinda Taylor, Anchorage; Kati Ward, Anchorage