This isn’t about grapes and lettuce, but about people
Published Thursday, 19-Aug-2010 in issue 1182
On Wednesday, August 11, 2010 I officially went from being a participant in GetEqual actions to joining the new provisional board of GetEqual. The board met in Valencia, California on the 11th and 12th of August to discuss what we do in principle, and why we do it.
The statement of the GetEqual Board of Directors that came out of the board retreat:
The newly-formed provisional Board of Directors is committed to providing leadership and direction to GetEqual. We seek to create a societal environment that fosters freedom, equality, and justice for the diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. One of our main goals is to illuminate discriminations that exist — to cause the tension and force our leaders and society to respond. GetEqual will continue to employ tools to create tension, specifically including nonviolent direct action, to bring our crisis to the attention of our leaders — for a community that has consistently been denied freedom, equality, and justice. We seek to underscore these issues so that they can no longer be ignored.
We are confident in the leadership of GetEqual and believe we have begun to lay the foundation for a solid organization to achieve these goals. The social and legal inequality of our community is incompatible with the ideals of the American people, and we call on our national leaders to join in the global momentum towards liberty and justice for all.
We already have a Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a Task Force, and a National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) to negotiate with our congress members as part of an inside game. We don’t appear to need more organizations to work the White House and halls of Congress. Heck, the White House believes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) bloggers (and activists as well) are a nuisance. From AmericaBlog, word that a closed-door meeting with the President, Brian Bond, the Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and state equality organization leaders generated some interesting comments:
Bond asserted, “There is still a lot of work to do” before DOMA will be repealed. “Look at the trouble we’re having with ENDA.” he added. But Bond conceded that there are inconsistencies in President Obama’s positions. In response, Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of Equality Maryland, stated, “Respectfully, we need President Obama to push for full inclusion of the LGBT community on ENDA, on marriage- we need the full get, not the lesser get. The highest office in the land sets the tone for the whole country.” Bond agreed, but expressed frustration at the often intense criticism levied, particularly by bloggers, against an administration that is “99 percent supportive of your issues.”
Julian Bond’s and President Obama’s being “99 percent supportive of your issues” has not resulted in the White House actually pressing Congress to pass ENDA, and repeal DADT and DOMA. And being supportive of GLBT issues isn’t the same as being a “fierce advocate” of GLBT people and issues — which presidential candidate Barack Obama promised in campaign. Candidate Obama promised us fierce advocacy to obtain our gay TM dollars and our community votes, but he’s fallen short of his promises.
The inside game of negotiating with the White House and Congress by itself hasn’t resulted in our national legislation being passed into law. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), as well the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act is not yet law.
I’ve joined the board of GetEqual in agreement with the consensus of board members — we need to put direct action back into our arsenal.
And within the board, I am a going to be voice for radical inclusivity in our actions. Our direct actions are going to be designed to represent the full diversity of our GLBT community.
To quote Cesar Chavez:
The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people.

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