Want Equality? Find Your Own Activism and Do Something
March 23, 2010
The following post is from HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse: It’s exciting to me to see so much attention now being focused on repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — a law that not only harms our national security but also one that devalues every LGBT American by placing a stamp of “unworthy” on our service. In the past several weeks, the HRC field staff has been on the ground in our six targeted states where Senate votes are critical to repeal — Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Virginia and West Virginia -- and we've been laying the ground work for months before that. At the same time we’ve seen other types of actions in DC and around the country demanding our equality from groups like Get Equal and Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. James Pietrangelo making a stand at the White House. There are no lack of pressure points we must hit to repeal this discriminatory law and every LGBT person needs to ask themselves, how important is our equality and what action can I take to advance the cause. The answer will certainly be different for each of us but the point is we all need to actually get involved if we want to create the world in which we want to live. While the actions we will take may differ, we must remember that our goal is the same. We are not a community divided against each other; rather we are a diverse community that uses different approaches to encourage our allies and defeat our opponents. We all have different roles to play in our fight for equality and no one should be diminishing others' work or questioning their commitment. Furthermore, a healthy and fair dialogue that holds people accountable for successes and failures makes us stronger. Since the beginning of the LGBT rights movement people have taken different positions on strategy, but moments of success have not come from when we've fought each other, but used our individual methods to fight our real enemies. As Kerry Eleveld points out in her smart weekly commentary for Advocate.com, “Any mainstream ink that is spent reporting on the division within the community is a diversion from their goal.” For our part at HRC, we’re organizing the grassroots — particularly veterans — to put pressure on Congress and the Administration to deliver on DADT repeal. Along with Servicemembers United, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and other groups, we’re gathering veterans for a lobby day on Capitol Hill on May 11th. If you’re a veteran or know one, take the first step to getting involved by filling out our survey about how you can help. We're proud of the work we've done lately across the country, with particular emphasis on 103 priority Congressional Districts:
- Over 190,000 phone calls and emails to members of Congress
- Our members submitted over 1,300 letters to editors in papers in priority media markets.
- Earlier this month HRC sent 275 of our members to lobby on the Hill in support of ENDA, DADT and other key legislation.
- Beyond the beltway, our members conducted over 250 in-District lobby visits.
- In 41 cities we held events that highlighted veterans opposed to "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." and over the next several months we will conduct at least 20 more.
- In May, we will send hundreds of veterans to Capitol Hill to lobby for repeal of the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" law.
We’ve been reporting on our actions here on HRC Back Story and will continue to share opportunities to get involved be it through an in-person lobby visit, calling or e-mailing your elected leaders, attending a phone bank, collecting petition signatures or participating in a visibility event. Visit our Repeal DADT site for all the ways you can take action. However you want to help the cause, do it today. We don't have any time to waste.