The year 2010 was a remarkable time in my life to witness an historic event in our American History. On December 22, 2010, I witnessed President Barack Obama sign the most important bill since the Voting Rights Act of 1964. It has been a few weeks, since President Obama repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. This is the beginning a new social transformation of the U.S. Military. My holiday season began with an overwhelming experience. I had the life-changing opportunity to personally shake the president’s hand and hug him-to thank him for supporting “The Forgotten Ones” The Women of Color; the largest population impacted by Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. In the past 8 months, twice I handcuffed myself to the White House fence to bring awareness and attention to the plight of “The Forgotten Ones” The Women of Color. My act of civil disobedience was a fight for equality for the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people that suffered in silence. It was worth risking losing my teaching license-and I would do it all again. I am a servant in God’s Army. I follow the steps of the purest social activist, his name is Jesus Christ and that is to show and demonstrate love for our brothers and sisters. I am honored for this recognition. It comes on the heels of being named one of “The Education Heroes of 2010” and being selected as one of the pictures for “2010 The New York Times 100 Pictures of The Year (Photo 82)”. All I can say is thank you for returning the love.
Evelyn Thomas, a veteran of The U. S. Army and U. S. Marine Corps, she is the founder and Executive Director of The Sanctuary Project (www.sanctuaryproject.org). The activist ministry is headquartered at Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad, California. This past fall, Post 2 of The Sanctuary Project opened in Texas. She formed the ministry out of the desperate need and failure of The Department of Defense to protect its service members under the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. Ms. Thomas is a licensed secondary educator. Ms. Thomas conducts research in the field of social transformation as the catalyst for legislative reform spearheaded by marginalized populations and the Critical Race Theory as a lens to study homophobia and racism in the public education system. In 2007, she mentored 10 Oceanside High School students to establish the 1st Gay Straight Alliance in the school’s 100 year history. Which was not an easy feat for the students, the school is located outside the gates of Camp Pendleton, California [the largest U.S. Marine Corps base on the west coast] and within North County [which is the “Bible Belt and Conservatism] of San Diego County. In 2009, Ms. Thomas collaborated with the EEO Manager of Human Resources for The City of Oceanside to develop a mandatory Diversity Training Program for all city employees about LGBT issues that may manifest in the work environment. It was the first human resource training to deal with LGBT issues. In 2010, Ms. Thomas developed and implemented the Breaking the Silence training for the Oceanside Unified School District Leadership Team-to guide administrators and teachers to develop the foundation, knowledge, skills, and strategies to better serve the LGBT students, parents, staff and faculty. Her book, Does Butch Nappy Hair Offend You? One Teacher’s Struggle for Acceptance in the Professional World of Education was published in May 2006 by the California State University, San Marcos Press, The Road to the White House [a short essay] was published in May 2010 by the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, authored curriculum for Civics Education Voices of Change: The American Creed: Freedom of Expression, The Color of My World, etc... and in November 2010, Ms. Thomas participated in the U.S. Marine Corps Writer’s Forum in New York City presenting “The Red Scarf”: a short story of a African-American Transgender Servicemember.
Education: California State University San Marcose
Master of Arts in Education: Teaching, Learning, and Leadership, 2006
Social Science Credential, Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development February 2003
Bachelor of Science: Business Administration: Service Sector, 1999
74th Assembly District San Diego County Central Committee Representative
Social Science Educator
Founder and Executive Director, The Sanctuary Project AKA The Sanctuary Project Veterans
Chief Executive Officer, The Thomas Systems Associates
GetEqual Provisional Board Member
North County Women’s Democratic Club Treasurer
I know Evelyn through Facebook, and when she asked to be a face of the day I was happy to oblige. Thanks Evelyn!