When I interviewed George Zander for this column, originally published in February, 2015, he could not know that by the end of the year he and his husband Chris would be victims of a horrific attack garnering national attention.
As Brian Bluesky reports, “On Sunday, November 1, Chris and George Zander were attacked close to Arenas St. after leaving Hunters Nightclub in an anti-gay hate crime. George Zander required hip-replacement surgery, Chris was left with staples in the back of his head and stitches in his lip.”
Tonight I'll share my exclusive interview with George and Chris Zander, husbands and local activists who were recently attacked in Palm Springs. Police say they were targeted for being gay. Here's a preview of my interview coming up tonight at 11 on KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2.
Posted by Natalie Brunell on Tuesday, November 10, 2015
CV independent and Chill Bar are teaming up to present this benefit show to help raise money for George Zander and Chris Zander in the newly opened Scorpion Room at Chill Bar. The event is taking place Tuesday, November 17th, at 7:00 p.m.”
We are relieved that George and Chris are on the mend, and thought it would be quite appropriate to run an encore of this column. You see, George loves us as much as we love George and Chris!
George Zander has been an activist for change for most of his life. Starting with helping found a Community Relations Committee in High School in Seattle to help build a better relationship between high school kids and the neighborhood, he also became active singing Christmas carols, organizing and attending pot lucks and walking the neighborhood.
Moving forward, after graduating from the University of Washington, he served in the Peace Corps in Micronesia, followed by continued government work in the islands, and more coalition building and teacher training.
Returning to Seattle, George jumped into local politics with coalition building, voter contact, volunteer recruitment and office management. He was also a Travel Agent for the AAA in Washington and Southern California.
George has been actively involved in Democratic Party to advance LGBT and other issues since 1974 when he was one of the first board members of Seattle's first openly lesbian and gay lobbying organization, The Dorian Group. He has worked for dozens of issues and candidates, including Chairing the King County Democratic Party (1992-96), and coordinating Seattle efforts in conjunction with the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign.
After moving to the Desert in 1997, he helped found the Desert Stonewall Democrats and was its chair for several years. After retiring from the AAA, he worked as a local staffer for Senator Barbara Boxer for two years and has continued to work on multiple campaigns for candidates and causes.
George currently sits on the Palm Springs Police Advisory Board, the PSPD LGBT Outreach Committee, serves as Vice Chair of the Warm Sands Neighborhood Organization and remains on the steering committee of the Desert Stonewall Democrats. He lives in Warm Sands with his husband Chris and three loving, spoiled cats — Petey, Satya and Charly.
George says “PS I love you because…”
- …the sun is out most every day. Though I still have a kinship with progressive, festive and enlightened Seattle, the dark days and rain got to me. Being a Travel Agent, I had the opportunity to reacquaint myself with the sun I loved in Micronesia days, and in finding sun around the globe as a travel adviser, and decided this is it. I still must root for the Seattle teams (as we were taught in the Northwest to hate Southern California teams). I am a forever Seahawk, and I am not alone here!
- …the diversity of folks in this city amazes me. The PSNIC organization is amazing as 30-plus neighborhood associations work together to improve the city for all. So many folks here come from other places and even though seniors still dominate the population base, things are changing and the younger generations are arriving, starting businesses and adding to the culture…especially with galleries, cafes, shops and parties.
- ...of the sophistication to want small, independent shop owners, not only downtown but uptown, South Palm Canyon and in Sunny Dunes West's antique district!! No malls for us! (Although there are some, to help with the diversity. And there is plenty of fast food and even a WalMart for some, but not for me).
- …the citizenry has the willingness to tackle tough stuff: police relations, which are quite excellent; homelessness, which needs lots of work, as well as funding to maintain and educate folks on the issue; acceptance of cannabis; and acceptance of LGBT folks; all about creating a village where can work together for all the residents here.
- …We as a community ignite and follow a spirituality that learns, directs and assists in positive ways every day.. Rumi lives here. And so does the man whose heart and soul I love. Christopher Zander. Rumi says… “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
Well, I've just discovered another way to spell F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S…it's G-E-O-R-G-E…Z-A-N-D-E-R!!!! And what I really love about your story George, is the very happy development of you finding your Mr. Right in the midst of all you do to make the world a better place for all of us. Very inspiring! Thanks for being you! You absolutely rock!
Want to be featured in the “PS I l love you because…” column?
To be considered, email me (Nicholas Snow, SnowbizNow@gmail.com) your top five answers (they can be short or long) to the statement, “PS I love you because…” and/or “PS I love you because I enjoy…”, along with two or three biographical paragraphs. Also, send some photos of things you love about the area including, ideally, you doing something you love in the area. Your submission does not guarantee publication. Thanks!