Statewide Action: On Heels of Prop 8 Ruling, “Meet in the Middle for Equality” Rallies ,Civil Rights Advocates in Fresno for LGBT Equality on a Federal Level
Posted on May 28, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
FRESNO, CA – In the first statewide demonstration following the California Supreme Court rulings which upheld the ban on same-sex marriage, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) advocates and allies will gather in Fresno on Saturday, May 30th in solidarity to support full federal equality. This all-inclusive event will attract supporters of social justice and equality from across California and ask them to renew their dedication to fight for the rights of LGBT individuals who currently struggle to have their rights protected. Moreover, progressive leaders and activists will be setting goals for a new movement which will call upon organizers and attendees to continue the fight and call upon the federal government to provide full equality to LGBT individuals.
Meet in the Middle is the beginning of a civil rights movement for today’s generation. In a symbolic sign of respect to the social movements of the past and present, the event begins with a five-hour 14.5-mile Equality March from Selma, California to downtown Fresno, California. The march and rally is the result of a major grassroots effort, modeled after President Obama’s campaign relying on the Internet and word of mouth. Traditionally, the LGBT rights movement has concentrated efforts in major metropolitan cities, but California voter demographics from November 2008 reflect that this approach did not garner the expected results. Consequently, organizers for Meet in the Middle have created an inward-working-out geographic strategy based upon the belief that the “Selma” or “Montgomery” of the LGBT rights movement will be in smaller communities needing equality education, resources and support – communities like Fresno who are at the epicenter of middle-American values.
Meet in the Middle for Equality is the brainchild of Central Valley organizers and a growing coalition of partners that include the Courage Campaign and hundreds of other organizations. The event’s lead organizer is Fresno resident Robin McGehee, a lesbian mother of two who was forced from her post as President of her child’s PTO due to her advocacy efforts for the No on Prop. 8 campaign.
Saturday, May 30, 2009, 1st Statewide Action After the Proposition 8 Decision
7:50 a.m. – Equality March Kickoff; 8:00 a.m. – March from Selma to Fresno
1:00 p.m. – Rally at steps of Fresno City Hall
March from the intersection of W. Front St. and Whitson St. in Selma, CA, then along the Golden State Highway to the Meet in the Middle rally location at Fresno City Hall, 2600 Fresno Street, Fresno, CA 93721
Equality March speakers at Selma Kick-off include:
Anne-Marie Williams of Jordan/Rustin Coalition
Nii-Quartelai Quartey of Courage Campaign
Yardenna Aaron of Here to Stay Coalition
Andrea Shorter of Equality California (EQCA)
Roland Palencia of HONOR PAC (English/Spanish-language)
Rally Speakers at Fresno City Hall Location include:
Robin Tyler, the original plaintiff in Tyler vs. the County of Los Angeles
Angelica Salas, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles
Molly McKay, Marriage Equality USA
Christine Chavez, Latino and African-American Leadership Alliance and Granddaughter of Cesar Chavez
Kate Kendell, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Rabbi Denise Eger, Congregation Kol Ami & California Faith for Equality
Father Geoff Farrow, Former Catholic Priest for Fresno’s Saint Paul Newman Center
Lt. Dan Choi, West Point graduate, recently discharged under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”
Reverend Eric Lee, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Reverend Dr. Amos Brown, Third Baptist Church, San Francisco
Rick Jacobs, Chair and Founder of the Courage Campaign
Cleve Jones, founder of Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and Harvey Milk intern
Dustin Lance Black, Academy Award Winning Screenwriter for Milk
“With this ruling, Californians are experiencing a great loss – a loss of justice, loss of compassion, and a loss of humanity. But rather than become disabled by our grief, we must shift our shame to strength and revitalize for the sake of the entire American LGBT community. We must use this ruling as a catalyst for an even greater goal and a greater good,” said Robin McGehee, lead organizer for Meet in the Middle.
Over 100 organizations from around the state have endorsed Meet in the Middle for Equality. The Courage Campaign and White Knot for Equality are providing buses to bring activists and progressive allies from San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco to the middle of California. Additional active participants include the California Nurses Association, Dolores Huerta Foundation, Equality Action NOW, Equality California (EQCA), Equal Roots, Freedom Action Inclusive Rights (F.A.I.R.), Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Network, HONOR PAC, Jordan/Rustin Coalition, Marriage Equality USA, Martin Luther King Legacy Association, NAACP Youth and College Division, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles, and the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco.
Meet in the Middle for Equality is a group of Central Valley equality activists and grassroots organizers who are working to raise awareness of progressive issues in middle-America-type communities. The group was founded by Robin McGehee, a Fresno-based mother who was forced out of her position as PTO president at her child’s school after speaking out against Proposition 8. From McGehee’s public yet peaceful protests of Proposition 8 in November 2008, a group of supporters emerged with the common goal of taking action in order to protect individuals’ civil rights and to create a statewide response to the California Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage. It is the long-term goal of Meet in the Middle for Equality to work with other organizations’ leaders to create a working group that actively addresses LGBT outreach and equality issues across America. www.meetinthemiddle4equality.com
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Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender-rights advocacy organization in California. In the past decade, EQCA has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil-rights protections in the nation. EQCA has passed over 50 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org