Veteran activist asks president to “stand with us in pride”
Washington, D.C. — Prominent gay activist Cleve Jones has invited President Barack Obama to speak at the National Equality March on October 11, event organizers revealed today. Jones’ letter was delivered to the White House on Friday, September 25. In it, Jones compares the event with the Civil Rights March of 1963, and asserts that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people “have a dream too.” Jones offers Obama an opportunity to “remind the world that we are welcome members of this nation.” The full text of the letter follows.
Dear President Obama:
Thank you for honoring Harvey Milk with the Medal of Freedom Award. Harvey was my friend and teacher. In the 30 years since he was assassinated lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people have attained a handful of rights in a handful of states, but we are still second-class citizens.
Your historic election gave us hope that change can happen, and now tens of thousands of LGBT people, along with our straight allies, are taking action to demand it. On October 11 we will march on Washington in support of a single goal: full and equal protection for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.
Equal rights are not a “gay” issue. They are about our shared human rights: safety in our schools and jobs, equitable healthcare and housing, and protection for our families, to name a few.
I compare our National Equality March with the Civil Rights March of 1963. Martin Luther King had a dream; we have a dream too. We share Dr. King’s belief in the dignity and equality of all peoples, and his commitment to non-violence. And we share his faith that justice will prevail.
We do not expect to achieve our goal overnight. Our struggle for equality has taken many years, and much hard work remains ahead. The nation is preoccupied with economic hardship and war. But you have given us hope that civil rights remain on this nation’s agenda. The time is right for us to call on our fellow Americans, our elected leaders, and you to reaffirm our shared commitment to civil rights.
With hope in our hearts, we invite you to join us on the west lawn of the Capitol on October 11th. We ask you to take the microphone and renew our faith that Washington will work with us, and not against us. We urge you to remind the world that we are welcome members of this nation. We invite you to stand with us in pride.
Co-Chair, National Equality March
A PDF copy of the letter can be seen here: http://equalityacrossamerica.org/docs/obamainvite.pdf
Equality Across America (EAA) is a network of decentralized organizers in every one of the 435 Congressional districts. These organizers form Congressional District Action Teams (CDATs) that work within their own communities to achieve full equality for LGBT Americans and their families. This includes the right to work our jobs and go to school free of harassment and discrimination; the right to safety in our daily lives, and protection from hate crimes; the right to equitable healthcare, and the right to donate blood; the right to equitable immigration policies; the right to marry; and the right to serve in the military openly.
The National Equality March (NEM) is being organized by EAA to show broad-based support for full equality for LGBT Americans on the doorstep of those who can make that happen – the United States Congress. The event will be held Saturday, October 10, and Sunday, October 11, 2009 in Washington, D.C. Each EAA Congressional District Action Team will mobilize its community to attend the event. LOGO TV is a proud in-kind supporter of the March.