Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Equality Across the Commonwealth in Review

We did it!

Despite the nay-sayers who said the nobody cares and those who wanted to be there, but couldn't be, we managed to organize our community and make a statement. Last night's Equality Across the Commonwealth demonstration at the Deeds-McDonnell debate did what it set out to do:

First, to get our community involved in our struggle for equality and second to call attention to our efforts with a challenge to the candidates to do more to ensure that all Virginians are guaranteed equal protection under the law.

Some notes about Roanoke Equality's first effort:

There were six of us that met and marched together. Terry McGuire from HRC joined us for a while, two students from Roanoke College's LGBT group Out Loud met with us for a chat and we exchanged contact information. A woman with two sons came up and told us that she and a few other people had been looking for us at another part of the campus. Unfortunately, we didn't connect with them. There may have been two demonstrations from what we heard. So, depending on how you do the math, eight to ten people were there.

There was no opposition at all. We received waves and thumbs up from cars driving by, several passers by stopped to express their support. There was a man who drove the McDonnell campaign truck that told us all about the anti-war protests in the 60's. He urged us to yell and scream and sing and make more noise. And the campus security couldn't have been nicer.

No attention was given by the TV media. We stopped in front of Olin Hall and started chanting "What do we want? Equality! When do we want it? Now!" several times until a few print media reporters came out to take our pictures and ask questions. One group was from the Va. Tech student newspaper. Another may have been from Lynchburg.

For a first effort, I think we all did a tremendous job. If nothing else, we let our community know that Roanoke Equality exists and that Roanoke's LGBT community will not be ignored any more. This is the first of what I hope will be many more projects. This project was put together in lees than a week. Imagine what we can accomplish with more time to organize and plan.

A big thanks to Frank House, Len Rogers, Chuck Lineberg, Terry McGuire, The Roanoke Pride Committee, Steve Matze, Charles Richards, Dale Weddle, Michelle Coffman and everyone else who helped us put this together.

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