HRC Blog

West Virginia Mountaineers Step Up the Fight Against DADT

West Virginia University’s College of Law was the latest stop of the Voices of Honor tour. Five veterans (three gay, two straight) spoke powerfully and emotionally of the shame and pain associated with the discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law. Major General Dennis Laich is a straight ally and WVU alum who spoke about how DADT forces soliders to lie. Veteran Kayla Williams, another straight ally, discussed how this compulsory deception was the real threat to unit cohesion. West Virginia native Pepe Johnson spoke of the pain he felt being discharged -- forced to leave his colleagues and an institution that meant so much to him. After the discussion, many attendees took out their cell phones and called West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd’s office on the spot, urging him to vote for repeal this year. Following the panel discussion, we headed to Zenclay, a popular café near campus, for a reception co-sponsored by Fairness West Virginia. After listening to emotional panel presentations from proud Americans who served our country, it was equally rewarding to be in a casual atmosphere and get to know some wonderful students, parents, advocates, and local community members of the great state of West Virginia. We're continuing our work in West Virginia next week with a stop in Lewisburg.  Join us:

  • WHAT:  Screening of “Ask Not,” a PBS documentary on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and a public forum with Veterans.
  • WHEN:  Tuesday May 4, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. local time
  • WHERE:  Greenbriar Valley Theatre, 113 East Washington Street, Lewisburg, West Virginia
  • WHO:  Discussion to feature remarks from: U.S. Army Sergeant Pepe Noah Johnson, a Clarksburg, West Virginia native and veteran who was discharged under DADT.  Sgt. Johnson was selected the Fort Sill Solider of the Year in 2001 and was awarded the Army Commendation Metal and Army Achievement Metal;   Lt. Commander Dr. Coy Flowers, a Huntington, West Virginia native and Navy veteran who resigned his commission after 10 years because of DADT.


Veterans who participated in the event


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