Diversity Briefs – April 2022

Murray earmarks $3M for MLK Center in Pasco

Pasco’s Martin Luther King Jr. Center will get a major facelift after securing
$3 million in a federal appropriations bill signed into law in March.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, directed $116.4 million to local projects across the state.

Some of the other appropriations to Eastern Washington included $900,000 to build a new community center at Lake Chelan, $700,000 to build a research facility to support bull trout populations in the Upper Yakima River, $1.2 million to support education and feeding programs in Yakima County, $3 million to establish a health care training facility in Spokane to address health care shortages and $1.8 million to pilot a licensed practical nurse apprenticeship program at Yakima Valley College.

The $1.5 trillion omnibus bill directed $2.6 billion to the Hanford cleanup.

Airport exhibit highlights Native American viewpoint

An exhibited curated by the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute now on exhibit at the Tri-Cities Airport showcases the region’s Native American culture.

The airport features art and exhibits each year in the secured site. The new exhibit replaces one curated by the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

The artwork supports the theme, “We Were, We Are, and We Will Be,” and offers a historical and cultural perspective on the region’s Natives. The Tamástslikt  Cultural Institute is the only museum on the Oregon trail that tells the story of Western expansion from the perspective of tribes.

Tamástslikt is a museum and research institute on the Umatilla Indian Reservation near Pendleton. The airport is in Pasco.

Social Security reopens offices, adds new option for gender

The Social Security Administration reopened local offices to in-person services on April 7.

Go to ssa.gov/locator to find the local office serving your zip code. For those who prefer to avoid the office or lines, services also are available at socialsecurity.gov.

In a separate move, Social Security announced it will give people the choice to self-select their sex for their Social Security number record starting in the fall.

“The Social Security Administration is committed to reducing barriers and ensuring the fair treatment of the LGBTQ+ community,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, acting commissioner. “The policy change will allow people to self-select their sex in our records without needing to provide documentation of their sex designation.”

Those who update their sex markers will need to apply for a replacement SSN card. To do so, they will need a document to provide their identity.

In February, the agency issued guidance to its employees to accept evidence documents that contain non-binary identifiers such as “X” for original SSN and replacement SSN card applications.

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