HRC Blog

Silent No More

Post submitted by Rev. MacArthur H. Flournoy, Director of Faith Partnerships and Mobilization

Fifty years ago, Bayard Rustin, a black gay man could not stand with us because of his sexual orientation. Today we right that wrong. We are joined by our LGBT coalition partners.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere.” So wrote Dr. Martin Luther King in his famed Letter from a Birmingham Jail, penned April 1963. Today, Rev. Al Sharpton, president and CEO of the National Action Network, convened a press conference, to announce a yearlong series of activities to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, commencing mid-August 2013 to address current injustices. Standing with Rev. Sharpton and many other national civil rights and human rights leaders were Martin Luther King III and the surviving daughter of the slain civil rights leaders, Elder Bernice King.

“This is not merely a commemoration but a continuation of what we began fifty years ago,” remarked Rev. Sharpton, echoed by numerous civil rights and human rights leaders. I was privileged to represent HRC among a broad and growing coalition of civil rights and human rights organizations including the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Council, National Organizational of Women, A. Phillip Randolph Institute, National Congress of Black Women, SEIU, National Black Justice Coalition and other organizations committed to full inclusion and equality. 

“Fifty years ago, Bayard Rustin, a black gay man could not stand with us because of his sexual orientation. Today we right that wrong. In addition to many legacy civil rights organizations, new coalition members, LGBT civil rights organizations, join us. We are committed to working for justice for all,” commented Rev. Sharpton in reference to the invitation to HRC and others to represent LGBT inclusion and equality in the national yearlong series that will take place August 2013 – August 2014.

In the wake of our collective anticipation of the Supreme Court of the United States decision on Proposition 8 in California and the fate of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), today marked yet another an important mile stone: the coming together of many civil rights leaders to embrace LGBT equality as a pivotal issue of our time. This time, a black gay man was called to the podium to speak, instead of being silenced by fear and misunderstanding. Bayard would be proud!

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