NY Weekend Organizing Roundup
June 8, 2009
HRC's field organizers were out in full force this weekend in the Empire State, encouraging residents to write handwritten letters to their State Senators in favor of the marriage equality bill. Below are reports from the field. You can also catch up on our previous New York posts. Syracuse: HRC Syracuse has been out and about in the community - this past weekend visiting the Taste of Syracuse and the CNY AIDS Walk. The response was overwhelmingly positive with over 80 people taking time to write a letter to their state senator in support of the marriage equality bill. The weather was perfect for being outside talking to people. I was amazed at the incredible amount of support there is from the general public for this bill to pass. NO ONE we talked to this weekend was against the bill. It clearly has a huge amount of support in Syracuse. Long Island: On Friday, we kicked the weekend off with a house party at the home of a local supporter. Over 20 of their friends, family, and neighbors showed up to support equality and write very thoughtful hand-written letters to the local state senator. It was great to see so many supportive straight allies. The letters, in support of the two hosts who hope to marry here in NY when it is legalized, were eloquent and beautifully written. After the house party we jetted over to a popular local restaurant and bar to gather signatures in support of the bill. The crowd was extremely receptive and we had a great time speaking with local residents and eating the free almonds at the bar. And on Saturday we canvassed local businesses and homes in Bridgehampton. We were met with support and encouragement everywhere we stopped - and we even canvassed the home of one of HRC's founding members, Vivian Shapiro!! Small world... On Sunday we attended the service at the Southold First Universalist Church. The theme of the day and sermon was LGBT equality, and we had a great time speaking to the congregants and collecting hand-written letters. As people of faith and conviction, their letters make a strong case to the local senator that marriage equality is the right thing to do! After church we stopped by a number of local vineyards. With the passage of marriage equality, these businesses would surely see a boost in tourism and sales. Their input, letters, and calls remind the senator that, in addition to being morally just, marriage equality would be good for the local economy! Poughkeepsie: My name is Amy and I've been organizing support for the marriage equality bill here in Poughkeepsie, NY. I've been speaking to people each night during our phone banks and I have been blown away by how supportive people have been. At our phonebanks, we talk to people about the need for marriage equality then, if the person is supportive, we transfer the call directly to the state senator's office so the state senator can hear directly from their constituents about why they should vote for the marriage equality bill. Many citizens have been very willing to talk to their state senator, however I've also been getting a lot of people who are interested in obtaining their senator's number so that they can pass it along to their friends and family. I've even come across a few individuals who have told me of other campaigns and ways that they've already gotten involved to support Marriage Equality. It's amazing that there's so much support here in Poughkeepsie. At this past weekend's phonebank, I had the opportunity to speak with a lot of energetic, motivated, and optimistic people who reminded me that we're not alone in our fight for equality. One local mother asked if I could hold the line for her. She took off her gardening gloves, walked back into her kitchen and grabbed a pen so she could make sure that her daughter got the message about the marriage equality bill. After I gave her the details, she was so enthusiastic about the bill that she asked to be directly connected to the senator's office herself. It was refreshing to hear so many people asking questions about the bill and showing genuine concern for the outcome of our campaign. It's great talking every night people who are so eager for the opportunity to have their voices heard. Staten Island: Pride month is officially under way in the Empire State and this past Saturday, Staten Island took to the streets for their annual pride parade. I started my day at the Staten Island Ferry where I met Assemblyman Matthew Titone who hosted a press conference before doing what thousands and thousands of New Yorkers do everyday, get on the Staten Island Ferry. It's only been a few weeks since the New York State Assembly passed the marriage equality bill and Assemblyman Titone's passionate speech from the chamber floor brought many in the hall to tears. It was great to have been there and witnessed such an amazing speech about equality. Here's a Portion of Assemblyman Titone's floor speech:
"The last time we debated this bill one of our colleagues even went so far as to demanded that there be an act of God, an act of God in order for him to vote yes on this bill. And for the past two years I have been thinking and rethinking what that meant "an act of God", and I would like to take this time to respond. Well here I am. And there is another act of god that sits there and another act of god that sits over there. There are millions upon millions of acts of gods that walk each and every country of our small planet. We are your sons, we are your daughters, we are your brothers, we are your sisters, your cousins your nieces and your nephews. When it comes to demanding an act of God I have to say your cup doth runneth over. My cup on the other hand is about 1300 rights shy from being even full." Entire Speech (YouTube)
When we left the ferry, we made our way over to the parade route where we joined by other elected officials from Staten Island. It was great to see Congressman Michael McMahon marching in the parade this year. The Congressman has always been an outspoken supporter of the LGBT community and not only talks the talk, but clearly walked the walk this past Saturday. Staten Island's City Council Member Kenneth Mitchell was there to also show his support of our community and to celebrate with us. Assemblyman Titone's colleague from Albany, Senator Diane Savino marched with us and she also took a moment at the end of the parade to write a letter to one of her Senate colleagues encouraging him to vote yes on the marriage equality bill when it comes to the Senate floor. Senator Savino has been an avid supporter of marriage equality and is doing her part by not only showing up, but by encouraging others to write hand written letters. Staten Island was not short on elected officials who support equality. At the end of the parade HRC gathered tons of hand written letters and will continue to work hard to win marriage equality for Staten Island and the entire Empire State. Rochester: "My fiancé and I are planning on getting married in Niagara Falls, Canada in Nov - but if we can get this passed in NY before then, we would much rather have our ceremony HERE - in OUR HOME state/country!" If the fact that someone in the United States of America has to say this is not enough to inspire you to act, what is? When you speak about marriage equality, part of the topic will always focus on religion. At an event over the weekend, I was tabling, and a man came up to the table, and took some of my materials. "Would you like to write a letter, now, to your senator?" I asked. "No. This is for my congregation. I know Senator Robach personally. He's going to get one on letterhead, and I'm going to speak to him personally about supporting this." "But will your congregation respond?" "Yes." That might have been the most definitive "yes" I have ever heard, and served to highlight the fact that equality and love is just as much a part of religion as anything else.
May 24, 2013