Students for the National Equality March (NEMStudents) have issued a call to action, demanding that students across the country organize for the event and for the long-term movement for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) rights. The statement echoes the single demand of the National Equality March for full and equal protection for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
NEMStudents acknowledge the historical significance of the National Equality March and of prior student movements for social justice. All students, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, are encouraged to sign the call to action. Over 100 student leaders, among them representatives of Princeton, Yale, Carnegie Mellon, Tulane University, Texas Tech, Columbia, UCLA, and NYU have signed thus far. Student organizations in all 435 congressional districts of the U.S. are organizing for the National Equality March and building a national network of student activists, indicating a distinctly bottom-up organizational structure that has been absent from many previous LGBTQ marches. The organization’s website at www.NEMStudents.org offers links and resources to aid students in finding transportation, housing, and support.
NEMStudents have also announced a Student Day of Action to take place September 22. Students are urged to promote the March by flyering, organizing meetings to educate about the March, writing to campus newspapers, organizing speak-outs, and screening LGBTQ films, such as the critically acclaimed Milk.
The National Equality March will be the first march for LGBTQ rights in Washington DC since President Clinton held office, and will take place October 10-11, 2009.
CALL TO ACTION
“Students around the world have been at the forefront of movements to promote democracy and human rights. Student movements have toppled powerful dictatorships and military juntas. Student movements have ended wars. And student activism has often served as the conscience for nations, reminding people in times of turmoil of the founding ideals of their countries and the aspirations of all people for justice, dignity, and equality.”
–Glenn Omatsu, Professor, California State University, Northridge
The United States must end its system of Apartheid that continues to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans, denying equal opportunity to serve one’s country, denying the equal right to marry, and denying equal access to over 1,000 rights, benefits and protections granted to all American citizens.
As student leaders we refuse to remain silent in the face of what we know is the greatest civil rights movement of our generation. We must speak out and be among those who express outrage at the hatred and discrimination that is inflicted upon our fellow citizens. To remain silent is to endorse hatred. So we add our voices to the increasing millions who demand justice, freedom, and equality for America’s LGBTQ citizens.
We urge all students to converge on Washington D.C. on October 10th & 11th for the National Equality March. We urge our students, no matter their sexual orientation, to organize buses, planes and trains, so we may express our unity and unwavering commitment to freedom and equality. Now is the time to speak out against this outrage and now is the time to march side by side in a powerful show of force in the struggle for freedom.