HRC Blog

From NC to DC, Fighting to End DADT

The following post comes from Randy Floyd, HRC Carolinas Political Co-Chair: On Tuesday, April 27th, at around 4:00, I left Charlotte, NC, with fellow members of Charlotte Rainbow Action Network for Equality (CRANE) and HRC Charlotte supporters Matt Comer and Lacey Williams. After a quick stop by Raleigh to pick up another member of the group, Melissa Siegel, and to grab a bite to eat, we were DC bound. Our plans: to set up a demonstration the next day on Capitol Hill for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. At around 12:30 AM we reached our destination for the night, National Harbor, MD. After a short night’s sleep, we were up early and headed to Capitol Hill, 13,500 toy soldiers in tow. Once we reached Capitol Hill, we met up with two other NC activists, Ryan Burris and James Elks of Wilmington, to set up shop at the corner of Independence Ave and First St SE just across from the Cannon House building. We set up 9 buckets, each containing 1,350 toy soldiers and representing over a battalion of troops discharged under DADT. Throughout the day we engaged passersby regarding the policy that makes men and women lie about who they are in order to serve their country. From a Christian High School tour group to members of an Arizona union, we discussed the effects of the policy on gays and lesbians and why it should be repealed. We also encouraged folks to fill out postcards urging their own Senators to support the repeal.  In addition to the demonstration on Capitol Hill grounds, we also met with the offices of several NC members of Congress, including Mike McIntyre (NC-07), Larry Kissell (NC-08) and Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan. While there, we delivered an additional 1,350 soldiers - just one tenth of the total discharged - to each member with a message: Repeal DADT NOW! For detailed accounts of each visit check out the YouTube videos at Matt,. Lacey and I closed out the day with a visit to openly gay Congressman Jared Polis’s (CO-02) office. He welcomed us with open arms. We thanked him for his work on Federal anti-bullying legislation and told him the nature of our trip. Coincidentally, while we were in Representative Polis’s office, Representative Patrick Murphy (PA-) – the lead sponsor on the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, the bill that would repeal DADT – called him. Rep. Polis told him we were there, and he gave us a “shout out!” Talk about being in the right place at the right time!! It was a fantastic way to end a productive trip. Afterwards, we packed up our soldiers and headed back to NC to continue the fight on home turf.

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