Marriage Equality in Harlem, NY!
May 2, 2011 by Adrian Matanza, Regional Field Director
This past Tuesday, I had the amazing opportunity to speak at a the world premiere of the documentary “Marriage Equality: Byron Rushing and the Fight for Fairness.” The documentary, which premiered at the Harlem Stage through support from the Tribeca Film Festival and HRC, highlighted African American voices in the fight for marriage equality in Massachusetts. Even though the fight is sometimes characterized as “a gay white man’s movement,” the film took the time to highlight key players in the effort which paved the way for Massachusetts to become the first state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In addition to notables like State Representative Byron Rushing, whose leadership was invaluable in the floor of the State House, and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, the film also highlighted the voices of legendary Americans who took bold moves to end discrimination in Massachusetts. One of those leaders is HRC board member David Wilson who, after the film, told the story of why he fought so hard for marriage equality in Massachusetts. He told the story of returning home to find his former partner lying outside of their home and of first being arrested for suspected involvement in what police suspected to be a home invasion. He told the story of being denied information about his partner from hospital officials and of eventually finding out that his partner had passed away. It’s stories like these put a human face, and a diverse human face, on the issue of marriage equality in the US.
David was joined by moderator Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post and panelists Alphonso David, New York State Division of Human Rights, Rev. Irene Monroe, Pacific School of Religion, Cathy Marino-Thomas, Board President of Marriage Equality New York, Rev. Eugene Rivers, Gay Rights Activist, Dr. Zakiya N. Muwwakkil, Activist, Public Speaker and Religious Educator, and Russell Simmons, Media Mogul, Founder of Def Jam Records, Rush Communications, Hip Hop Summit Action Network and LGBT Supporter.
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