HRC Blog

DADT Repeal Organizing in Southwestern Virginia

Well, if you’re going to have to run around rural Virginia talking to voters about military policy, beautiful weather and breathtaking scenery make it just that much more fun! I’m in Blacksburg, Virginia – home to my alma mater Virginia Tech – working to build grassroots support in this part of the state for DADT repeal. Southwestern Virginia is often overlooked when folks inside the beltway refer to the Commonwealth. Those that assume progressives aren’t energized (or don’t even exist) in this part of the state, however, are dead wrong. My itinerary includes stops in Blacksburg, Radford, Christiansburg and Roanoke, and I can tell you that the folks I’m meeting with are, to paraphrase President Obama, fired up and ready to see DADT go! I arrived Wednesday evening and it’s been a blur of take action meetings and strategy sessions. Last night, I attended an event hosted by the Virginia Tech Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Alliance. It’s Pride Week on campus, and students turned out in droves for last night’s affair. Students and local residents from every walk of life, and from every corner of Virginia, were excited to demonstrate their support and sign postcards to Senator Jim Webb asking him to stand up for lesbian and gay service members and vote for repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." With all the recent hubbub here surrounding Governor McDonnell and Attorney General Cuccinelli’s  attempts to take Virginia backwards, people are absolutely thirsting for avenues to get involved and make a positive difference for LGBT Virginians. And in addition to mobilizing so many LGBT and straight supporters, I’ve also met or been in touch with about a dozen local veterans, gay and straight, who are getting involved and want to attend our Veteran’s Lobby Day on May 11th. I’ll be in Roanoke tomorrow, Radford and Christiansburg on Monday, and back here in Blacksburg on Tuesday. If you want to join me at any number of activities or meetings, shoot me an email to meet up. And for those in the area, mark your calendars now for our Voices of Honor Blacksburg stop, scheduled for April 28th at 7pm in Squires’ Colonial Hall. Ya’ll keep an eye out for more from Southwestern Virginia…

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