1000+ Rally in DC to Repeal DADT
March 18, 2010
Today HRC along with veterans and entertainer Kathy Griffin hosted a rally at DC's Freedom Plaza between the White House and Capitol Hill, calling for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." HRC President Joe Solmonese welcomed the crowd of more than 1000 and encouraged them to take action and put pressure on the White House and Congress to end this discriminatory law NOW. More than 500 people signed up to become more involved in the fight to repeal DADT. Singer Tom Goss kicked off the event followed by the first American wounded in the Iraq war, retired Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva. Also speaking were Ben Mishkin of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Alex Nicholson of Servicemembers United. Finally, Kathy Griffin took to the stage, talking about her experiences this week in Washington, welcoming Lt. Dan Choi to the stage to make a few remarks and then calling for a moment of silence to honor our troops who serve in silence. There's been some confusion about Lt. Dan Choi's role in the rally. As Joe Solmonese was walking to the stage, Lt. Choi asked Joe if he could have a speaking role. Joe explained that it wasn't his sole decision to make on the spot given that there was already an established program that included Kathy Griffin, other organization and veterans. After Choi then spoke with Kathy Griffin, she agreed to bring him up on stage and speak to the crowd during her remarks. Lt. Choi in his speech called on the crowd to march on the White House. Joe Solmonese along with Eric Alva and others felt it was important to stay and engage those at the rally in ways they can continue building the pressure needed for repeal. This does nothing to diminish the actions taken by Lt. Choi and others. This is the nature of social change and everyone has a role to play.