Tag Archives: White House

Our Allies – 12,000 Wrap White House to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline

6 Nov

We’ve spoken a few times here about our need for allies in the movement for full LGBT equality under federal law in the US. Unfortunately in our work with many different progressive organizations, it is sometimes difficult not to notice the lack of LGBT involvement in the larger progressive movement. There is of course a whole chicken/egg part of this discussion which includes arguments about whether or not the greater progressive movement wants our involvement or whether or not we want to be involved.

Either way, what we do know is that without allies in our fight, we cannot win. And some of the most effective allies we can have are activists – those people who are unafraid to stand up and speak out for what is right. Social justice is about building something, making friends, keeping them with you and using the power of many to win.

Today, we were proud to be street captains in helping to organize 12,000 people to stand hand-in-hand circling the White House. We joined many other LGBT activists and friends in the action. We were there to protest the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline which would take oil from the Tar Sands in Canada tot eh Gulf of Mexico. People have dozens of different reasons for protesting this pipeline, but among my most motivating reasons is the fact that if it took us to 3 months to plug the BP oil spill (and we knew that happened because of an explosion), how many millions of gallons will spill into our country’s drinking water when that one breaks?

Of course as I said, there are dozens of other reasons to protest this pipeline – everything from it being built on Native American land which would defy treaties from many generations ago to it not alleviating our dependence on foreign oil in the slightest. One thing is clear, this is something we all need to care about.

And when you show up to a rally because it’s the right thing to do, wear your colors. Let the other people there know that the LGBT community cares about what’s important for all of us.

Enjoy some photos from today’s incredible action at the White House. FYI – we’d hoped to wrap around the White House in a single file line. We wrapped around almost 3 times with 12,000 people.



		
		

		
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The Ghosts of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Moving Forward

15 Nov

In a historic protest at the White House moments ago, 13 people were arrested after chaining themselves to the White House fence.  Three generations of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell activists participated in this monumental action.  Present among the demonstrators were several men and women who’ve been arrested in similar demonstrations over the decades, including the first famous Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell protest in the 90’s, and this year’s subsequent White House DADT protests.

Former Servicemembers who were arrested in April during protests at the same location, spoke to Talk About Equality about why they were returning:

“I feel we have come to a critical juncture where we need leadership from Obama and Senator Reid to get rid of this horrible policy.  I am here today because being the first Marine discharged under this policy I feel we need to send a signal to the White House and the Senate to finally do the right thing for LGBT servicemembers and pass the repeal in the Defense Authorization Bill.” Says Justin Elzie, the first Marine discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, to Talk About Equality.

Here is the full list of demonstrators who were arrested today:

Lt. Dan Choi, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen,Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, and Cadet Mara Boyd.  All four were arrested in front of the White house in April protesting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Robin McGehee, co-founder and director of GetEQUAL.

Former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Miriam Ben-Shalom, who was discharged in 1976 and was the first LGBT servicemember reinstated to her position in the U.S. Military, by a U.S. Federal District Court. On July 30th, 1993, Miriam and 26 other protesters were arrested at the White House fence for protesting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Former U.S. Marine Corps Sergean, Justin Elzie who, in 1993, became the first Marine ever investigated and discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

Former Army Arabic Linguist Ian Finkenbinder, who was discharged from the Army in December 2004.

U.S. Army Veteran and Repeal Advocate Rob Smith, who was deployed to both Iraq and Kuwait before being honorably discharged after deciding not to re-enlist in the U.S. Army due to the added pressure of living under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

Father Geoff Farrow, a Catholic priest who spoke out against the church’s official stance in support of California’s Proposition 8, removing the rights of same-sex couples to marry.

Scott Wooledge, a New York-based LGBT civil rights advocate and blogger who has written extensively on the movement to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at Daily Kos and Pam’s House Blend.

Michael Bedwell, long-time LGBT civil rights advocate, close friend of Leonard Matlovich, and administrator of the site www.leonardmatlovich.com

Dan Fotou, an Organizer with GetEqual.

Civil rights activist, writer and speaker David Mixner told LGBTPOV upon the 17th Anniversary of the first DADT White House arrests:

“There was no question among those of us arrested that DADT was a horrible policy.  Am extremely proud of doing the right thing then and extremely proud of those doing the right thing today.”

This action culminates one day of advocacy for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal.  The big push needs to come from all of us in the remaining few weeks of this Congressional calendar.  Don’t let these 13 have sacrificed in vain.