August 12, 2009
Statement of Human Rights Campaign on National Equality March in Washington
"With thousands of LGBT people and allies coming to Washington to make a difference, it's our mission to help them become the citizen lobbyists that they want and need to be," said HRC President Joe Solmonese
WASHINGTON -- On October 11, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists and allies will meet by the United States Capitol in Washington, DC. The first national gathering of LGBT volunteers, community members, and supporters since the 2008 elections and the passage of Proposition 8, this event provides a powerful opportunity to harness the energy-both excitement and anger-that this historic year has sparked.
"The Human Rights Campaign considers October 11 in Washington DC to be a starting point-not a destination," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Those who join us in the nation's capital have more work ahead of them after the crowds clear. They need to become citizen lobbyists, ready and able to tell their Senators and members of Congress what this community needs to see: an ENDA that protects every single one of us. Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Repeal of DOMA. Protections for our families."
HRC will train march participants to initiate and carry out successful in-district lobby visits-whether they come to DC in person, or take their activism on line. Similar to the successful "No Excuses" campaign (www.noexcuses.hrc.org), HRC's work with the October 11 event will focus on mobilizing face-to-face meetings between community members and their lawmakers.
"With thousands of LGBT people and allies coming to Washington to make a difference, it's our mission to help them become the citizen lobbyists that they want and need to be," said Solmonese. "Cleve Jones's vision of bringing us together at this important time is an extraordinary opportunity to capitalize on the energy and commitment of our community and achieve results.
"I've heard criticism about this gathering diverting resources from existing goals such as marriage equality in Maine and New Jersey," added Solmonese. "It's our intention and our obligation to ensure that in October, we amplify our energy not divert it. Will and commitment are unlimited resources. We intend to ensure that when the event in Washington is over, many more of us will know not only the work that lies ahead, but how to turn that energy into action."
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.