Calif. DADT Town Hall Held as Congress Works to Repeal Law
June 15, 2010
This guest post is contributed by HRC Los Angeles Steering Committee member Carlos Munguia: On June 2 the Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles steering committee partnered with host Rep. Judy Chu, the Latino Equality Alliance, API Equality - LA, and San Gabriel Valley Pride, Inc. in a Congressional Town Hall on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell” in El Monte, California a San Gabriel Valley diverse community located in the eastern portion of LA County. A panel gathered to talk about DADT and the impact on communities of color and women. HRC staffer Jarrod Chlapowski joined the panel. “It is important to include everyone’s voices in talking about an issue such as DADT. There are so many stories that have not been told and it is our job to make those heard not only to our electeds but to all other communities in Los Angeles and throughout the Country,” said Alfredo Lee, HRC LA Steering Committee Diversity co-chair. The Town Hall panel consisted of former gay and lesbian military leaders that had either been discharged or personally decided not to serve any longer, including several former service members who have been advocating for repeal since the beginning of the Obama administration. Julianne Sohn, a former Marine, Christopher Landavazo, a former Navy officer, Alexander Nicholson, from Servicemembers United, Jarrod Chlapowski, from the Human Rights Campaign and Gary Gates, PhD and Distinguished Scholar from UCLA’s Williams Institute presented personal stories and background information on the history, challenges and the repeal process. Included in the presentation was additional information on how the policy adversely affects people of color and women. The San Gabriel area unfortunately showed strong support of Proposition 8, with more than 60% of residents voting in favor to ban same-sex marriage. Latino Equality Alliance found it important to team up with the Rep. Chu's office to coordinate such an event in this area to help increase support for LGBT people and issues in communities like this and all over East and Southeast Los Angeles. The event was billed as a “Harvey Milk Commemorative Town Hall” in recognition of the first California state holiday honoring, Harvey Milk, the fallen leader who was the first openly-gay candidate elected to major office in the United States and who also was a Navy veteran, emphasizing the long history of gay people serving in the military. The event was well organized and attended. Attendees included local El Monte residents, LGBT supporters, leaders and former military veterans. The stories that each of the panelists shared helped those attending understand that DADT is problem that goes beyond the LGBT community as it affects women, men, and minorities.
March 7, 2014