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    New Alice Mission Statement, Lesbians Who Tech Summit and a Valentine’s Day Reminder

    Zoe Dunning

    Zoe Dunning

    By Zoe Dunning

    Respite from the Madness

    I had planned on using this column to rant about the latest Trump executive orders, tweets, cabinet appointments and “alternative facts.” But I decided you probably have had enough of that in your daily news feed. Plus, the moment I write something down, it will be made obsolete by a more outrageous happening within hours of publication. So, I’m dedicating this month’s column to more “good news” developments I support and want to share. Keep on resisting, but take a moment to take care of yourself, and to celebrate positive news as well.

    Lesbians Nerds Unite!

    Later this month, February 23–26, San Francisco and the Castro will host the annual Lesbians Who Tech (LWT) Summit.  LWT describes itself as “The Community of Queer Women In & Around Tech” (and the people who love them!). Over 2,200 lesbians, queer women and allies will gather to network and learn about a variety of topics including technology + the resistance, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and entrepreneurship. There will be a broad spectrum of speakers representing numerous organizations in and around technology, including Facebook, Google, Genentech, Twilio, Amazon, LinkedIn and Tesla. I’ve attended the Summit in the past, and plan on attending again this year—the event carries amazing energy and it’s always a fun experience when women take over the Castro! For more information, go to

    New Alice Mission Statement

    Last fall, the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club drafted and adopted a new mission statement. The reason for the update was to more accurately reflect the current challenges of the LGBT community and the work to be done protecting all marginalized communities. Alice’s Co-Chairs, Lou Fischer and Eric Lukoff, recently sent a communication to its membership summarizing the effort:

    “It was a long process during which we looked back at our history, surveyed our members and predecessors, and clarified our values. Our work culminated in a statement we can be proud of, and one that we hope will serve as a guiding principle for us in the years to come. It can be found in its entirety on our website, but here is the most salient part: we are dedicated to advocating ‘for human rights, social and economic justice, and equality for all persons.’ This could not be more relevant to the times we live in.”

    I applaud Alice and look forward to hearing more about its work to advocate on behalf of a broader coalition, as we #resist the assault on human rights coming out of the White House.

    As an aside, I want to publicly applaud former Alice Co-Chair Ron Flynn for his role on the City Attorney’s team that recently filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against President Trump, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, and Acting Attorney General Dana Boente.

    The lawsuit objects to an executive order signed by Trump on January 25 proclaiming: “Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States.” The penalty for being a sanctuary jurisdiction? Withholding of federal grants, which would significantly impact the city’s budget and ability to deliver services to its residents. San Francisco is the first city to legally challenge the executive order, and I’m proud of Ron for his leadership role in the suit.

    And finally … Last Call for Returning Overdue Library Books Fine-free!

    February 14 (Valentine’s Day) is the deadline for the San Francisco Public Library’s amnesty program, where all late fees on returned books, CDs, DVDs and other materials will be waived, regardless of how long overdue. I encourage you to take advantage and return your overdue items, clear your record and begin enjoying the Library once again. These amnesty programs don’t happen often (the last one was 2009), so go find that library book you recently discovered when you moved, or that DVD that has been sitting on your shelf for several years, and return it to your branch library by February 14.

    That’s all the good news I have to share this month. Take care of yourselves, celebrate successes and keep the momentum going. To #resist is a marathon, not a sprint.

    Zoe Dunning is a retired Navy Commander and was a lead activist in the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. She served as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club and as an elected Delegate for the Democratic National Convention. She is a San Francisco Library Commissioner and is the former First Vice Chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party.