Born out of the passion and people-powered action following Proposition 8 in CA and last October’s National Equality March, GetEQUAL has worked to engage a nationwide network of activists across the country to send a strong message to President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other national leadership — we’re done with excuses and “politics as usual,” and we demand equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people.
Six months ago, we received a luxury that many organizers would do anything for — seed funds to help us hit the ground running. We are extremely grateful for that gift, but it shouldn’t be left up to a handful of donors to fund this renewed way of demanding our rights. We’ve used this initial seed money to train volunteers, organize actions, and pay travel/legal costs for activists who are arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience. We’ve been able to hire some great organizers and we’ve put technologies in place to help bring people together as we work to build within a movement. Now we need our base — fair-minded people who want to continue demanding their equality and who are frustrated with the lack of progress for equal rights — to step up and keep this thing going.
Here’s a brief list of the things we’re most proud of from the past six months:
- Launched a video with Will Phillips that has had over 121,000 views, leading to the start of a narrative calling for courageous action
- Called the President to account at a California fundraiser for Barbara Boxer, leading to an email from a reporter on Air Force One indicating that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was all anyone was talking about on the flight back to DC
- Protested at the White House with servicemembers from multiple branches of the military, leading to a revitalization of the conversation around “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
- Staged a simultaneous sit-in at Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco and Washington offices, leading to promises (now broken) on when an inclusive ENDA would pass
- Shut down Las Vegas Boulevard in Senator Reid’s home state, leading to calls from Reid’s office in DC asking how they could prevent future action
- Coordinated direct questions at Netroots Nation to House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid, leading to unforgettable media moments and increased opportunities for accountability
- Called Speaker Pelosi to account in the Capitol Rotunda by “beating the drum” that she told us needed to happen for ENDA to pass, leading to an increased possibility of resurrecting ENDA from the dead
- Launched the “ENDA Summer” campaign, leading to distributed actions in areas of the country that have not previously been mobilized
- Confronted Senator John McCain at a Senate Armed Services Committee with the specter of his tainted legacy, leading to a slight shift in his position on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
And, just this morning, we partnered with Sanctuary Project Veterans to deliver combat boots with the names of discharged servicemembers on them to Senator Jim Webb, asking his staff to remind the Senator that the policy puts the lives of servicemembers across the globe in jeopardy.
The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will be a beautiful thing, but we will continue organizing until we GetEQUAL in all matters governed by civil law, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. We will continue pressuring Congressional leaders until we are given the equal protection that we have been promised. We are inspired by people all across the country who are interested in joining us, and who are eager to take action in Ohio and Indiana and Kentucky and Texas and Mississippi and Tennessee — and in every other state where people are tired of just sitting back and accepting the continued broken promises.
We will never be able to put into words how grateful we feel to have this opportunity and, from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your support. We will continue to pressure those in leadership positions to stand with us on the right side of history — but we need you to stand with us, too.
Get Out! Get Active! GetEQUAL!
Robin McGehee and Kip Williams, Co-Founders of GetEQUAL