Leslie Cushman: 2018 Pride Activist of the year

By Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS

Leslie Cushman is the 2018 Pride Activist of the year. Leslie, an attorney and community organizer, is being recognized for her work to reform the use of deadly force in law enforcement.

In 2015, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin, Leslie and five other community leaders founded the Olympia Coalition to Reform Deadly Force Laws. Partnering with the Black Alliance of Thurston County, the Olympia Coalition helped launch a grassroots network to bring forward state legislation addressing the use of deadly force. This work ultimately evolved into the De-Escalate Washington Campaign, which strives to ensure that diverse community stakeholders come to the table to participate in policy development – including persons with disabilities; members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community; persons of color; immigrants; non-citizens; native Americans; youth; and formerly incarcerated persons.

“Leslie Cushman was unanimously chosen by the Capital City Pride planning committee to be the 2018 Pride Activist of the year,” says Gina Thompson, 2018 Pride Chair. “Several nominators recognized her passion for racial justice and commitment to reform the use of deadly force in law enforcement.  While other nominators appreciated Leslie’s contributions as an older LGBTQIA activist and civic leader within the community.  While some people see these issues as separate, we at Pride believe that systems of inequity are interwoven.  Leslie’s tireless effort to change any one piece of the system can often influence change in other pieces.  To that end, we are proud of her work and know that she will make our community safer for everyone.”

Leslie also volunteers with the Latino Civic Alliance as an advisor and attends church at the United Churches of Olympia. Lastly, Leslie encourages everyone to participate in the Poor People’s Campaign, which is a movement against systemic racism, poverty, militarism, and ecological devastation. If you appreciate coalitions, you will like the Poor People’s Campaign.

WHAT Capital City Pride

WHERE Heritage Park, Olympia

WHEN Sunday, June 10





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