Friday, September 4, 2009

National Equality March Update: NGLTF Signs on the Growing List of Endorsements

After a summer of fits and starts, the National Equality March has begun to find its footing. March organizers have changed logos and web sites three times in an effort to gather support and build momentum for the planned gathering, scheduled for the weekend of October 10-11 on the grounds of the U.S. Capital.

Thursday, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) released a statement endorsing the march several weeks after its initial lukewarm reaction to activist Cleve Jones' call to arms. Jones started his life of activism as a teenager, working side by side with slain activist Harvey Milk (he's the the curly-haired kid with glasses in the movie "Milk"), and created The Names Project, better known as the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

Task Force will engage and support people taking action
in pursuit of full equality and justice for LGBT people

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, a leader in building grassroots lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) political power, endorses the National Equality March, which will be held in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 10-11. Thousands of people from across the country will march and rally in front of the U.S. Capitol demanding equal protection under the law for LGBT people and their families in all 50 states. At the march, the Task Force will engage new activists, support fair-minded clergy and other people of faith, and mobilize volunteer activists to return home engaged and energized.

"For the past 30 years, LGBT people and our allies have come together in Washington to be inspired, to engage in political action, and to go home geared up to create change. The National Equality March will bring together those of us who have never marched, those who want to renew their passion for action, and those who demand their voices be heard. When we mobilize for LGBT equality, for racial and economic justice, for a transformed society, and to make our love and lives visible, the Task Force is there. The Task Force will be there at the march to support the voices of new activists, LGBT people and our allies who push and push for the end to hatred, discrimination and unjust laws," says National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey.

As part of its commitment to support march participants in fighting for local, state and federal change, the Task Force will:

  • Utilize technology to connect people to concrete actions they can take on the local, state and national levels.
  • Lend its faith organizing expertise in helping to plan an interfaith worship service.
  • Work to connect state equality organizations and community centers with march participants the Task Force identifies from their states so they can further engage them to be active at home.
  • Engage march participants in ballot campaigns under way in Maine, Washington state and Kalamazoo, Mich.
  • Engage and support new activists in honing their talents and grassroots skills after the weekend of the march.

Consistent with the march goal of seeking equality in all 50 states, the Task Force will maintain its longstanding commitment to provide organizers, expertise and money for key ballot measure fights under way in Maine, Washington state and Kalamazoo, Mich. The Task Force will reach out to march participants from these states to channel their energy to create change back home.

March attendees who want to further develop their skills and strategize with other activists will be encouraged to attend the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change just a few months later in Dallas, Texas.

"The Task Force is excited to support a new wave of activists and advocates. Whether you come to D.C. to march or stay at home to create change in your city, town, school or place of worship, the Task Force has the tools and know-how to help. Let's march in Washington and step it up at home," says Carey.

Following is a list of links to other march-related news:

March For Equality Homepage, which includes the latest planning updates and an interactive map of local organizing activities. has posted an exclusive list of 140 activists, organizations and others endorsing the march.

Blogger Bil Browning of the Bilerico Project interviewed activist and march organizer Cleve Jones this week, asking reader-submitted questions. Video of the interview has been posted in two parts on YouTube. Click here for part one and here for part 2. (I just want to warn you, the camera man had a hard time keeping his presence a secret. At times it sounds like Darth Vader is somewhere in the room.)

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