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    The Twelve Days of Christmas

    zoeBy Zoe Dunning

    This holiday season, there certainly is a lot for which I am grateful – it’s been an incredible year. One of my favorite memories will be standing in the rotunda of City Hall with my wife Pam, watching the live announcement of the Supreme Court’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8 decisions. We really felt like we were watching and participating in civil rights history. There are other great memories I cherish from 2013, but I’m typically one that likes to look forward and to the future and not dwell too much in the past.

    As MLK once famously said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” It has certainly progressed, but it’s not at its destination quite yet. So, leveraging the theme of the Twelve Days of Christmas, I’d like to share with you my twelve wishes for Christmas, focusing on goals like equality, respect, opportunity and justice. They are a bit more intangible than a partridge in a pear tree, and certainly difficult to wrap. And you should definitely appreciate that you are reading this and not listening to me sing them. (As Pam likes to tease me, “Who told you that you are a good singer, your mother?!”) But I offer them for your consideration:

    On the first day of Christmas: A country where, in all states, having parents that love their children and keep them safe and healthy is all that is important – not their sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, race or religion.

    On the second day of Christmas: Anyone can marry the person they love, no matter if they are the same or opposite gender, and that marriage is recognized by their state with all the resulting rights, responsibilities and benefits.

    On the third day of Christmas: A broad spectrum of people from all socio-economic classes and backgrounds can afford to live in San Francisco. The housing affordability crisis is reversing the arc of the moral universe and turning our city into the haves and have nots. We are in dire need of greater middle class and low-income housing options.

    On the fourth day of Christmas: Our withdrawal from Afghanistan is complete in 2014 and our military troops come home to their families safe and sound.

    On the fifth day of Christmas: We take care of our troops that have come home with physical, mental and emotional damage as a result of 12 years of deployments. We process their disability claims swiftly and respectfully, and provide opportunities for education, housing, and jobs as they transition to civilian life.

    On the sixth day of Christmas: Transgender troops can serve openly in our military with full dignity and respect. We successfully repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but that did not help our transgender brothers and sisters. They should not be left behind.

    On the seventh day of Christmas: The percentage of women in public office actually reflects our presence – 50%. Even in as progressive a city as San Francisco is, women hold only one of six city-wide positions, zero of our four seats in Sacramento, and a minority of the Board of Supervisors (5 of 11). As MO State Senator Jolie Justus says, “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu.”

    On the eighth day of Christmas: City College maintains its accreditation and the school is allowed to continue to provide a top quality education to its thousands of students.

    On the ninth day of Christmas: Everyone has access to quality, affordable health care regardless of employment status or employer. The idea that our health is dependent on where we work is just crazy to me.

    On the tenth day of Christmas:  Comprehensive national immigration reform is passed, with a defined path to citizenship for those who have lived in and contributed to the economy and our country.

    On the eleventh day of Christmas: The Golden Gate National Recreation Area keeps Crissy Field, Fort Funston and other designated GGNRA spaces open to off-leash dogs.

    On the twelfth day of Christmas: Women are allowed the full freedom to make health choices with their physician, including control of their reproductive rights, without the interference of the government. Period.

    So I ask you, what do you wish for this city, this state, this country, our world? And what can you do to make a difference?

    Happy holidays to everyone, and I look forward to seeing you in 2014!

    Zoe Dunning is a retired Navy Commander and was a lead activist in the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. She currently serves as the 1st Vice Chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party.