OMAHA, NE – The Equality Pledge Network announced a united call for full LGBT Equality at the MLK Jr Memorial in Washington, D.C. on June 30th at 8:30 pm with renowned African American faith leaders and LGBT activists, featuring song, prayer, speeches, and the resounding call to “ADD 4 WORDS” to the 1964 Civil Rights Act that turned 50 years old on July 2nd 2014.
Add 4 Words – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
The event was hosted by The Equality Pledge Network, a new nationwide campaign for full equality. The event was The Equality Pledge Network’s official launch event. The Equality Pledge Network is supported by over 245 organizations in 44 states calling for a one bill strategy for full federal equality.
Speakers for the event highlighted the Network’s wide-range of supporters for a one-bill, full equality solution, from the United Church of Christ, to Equality Illinois, to the San Francisco LGBT Center. A Proclamation from Mayor Pougnet of Palm Springs was presented recognizing the California supporters and designating the first official “LGBT Equality Now Day.” Activists carried posters of LGBT children lost to discrimination, a key point in the campaign. And tribute waspaid to LGBT civil rights heroes, Eleanor Roosevelt and Bayard Rustin, who led the way with their unique gifts on the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the 1964 Civil Rights Act, respectively.
Proponents assert that including LGBT Americans in the Civil Rights Act via one comprehensive bill is the most direct way to counter the vast harms caused by societal discrimination. “The inclusion of LGBT American in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is right and necessary,” said Veronica Eady, a board member of LGBTequalityNOW.org, the organization formed to support the Network. “As an African American woman, I understand why only fully inclusive nondiscrimination laws meet the standard for basic human dignity in our nation.”
The power of seeking full equality is also highly motivating and could actually build the mass movement the LGBT movement requires to become a top Congressional priority. The Network points to the success of The Pledge for Full LGBT Equality at the heart of this campaign that brought the over 240 diverse organizations together around a shared intention, spanning sixteen statewide equality organizations from Equality Hawaii to Equality South Carolina, transgender groups such as the Tennessee Trans Political Alliance, PFLAG chapters from Pasadena to Ann Arbor, the ACLU of Mississippi, The Unitarian Universalists Association, Metropolitan Community Churches, LGBT Democrats of Virginia, Palm Springs and Florida, and over 11 City Council Proclamations from West Hollywood to New Orleans and Tallahassee.
Launching two new public policy arguments in a bi-partisan approach, the campaign’s information-packed website features the cutting-edge facts about “minority stress” by Dr. Ilan Meyers of the William’s Institute, detailing the harm LGBT people endure from discrimination to make the argument that discrimination must be outlawed on public health grounds as called for by theAmerican Psychological Association and many others. And international law is also emphasized, referencing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s historic speech, and the United Nation’s Free & Equal campaign, to make clear that Congress has a duty to include LGBT Americans in the country’s nondiscrimination laws immediately.
At the vigil, Reverend Abena McCray a co-founder of Unity FellowShip Church performed Break Every Chain with choir members from the Howard University School of Divinity. Rev. Dr. Dennis Wiley a straight-ally African-American leader on LGBT justice from Covenant Baptist UCC affirmed the inter-connectedness of all struggles, as faith leaders proclaim the spiritual imperative to protect LGBT Americans fully and equally from discrimination.
Richard Noble, who walked across America on foot for equality, presented a proclamation for “LGBT Equality Now Day” from Mayor Pougnet of Palm Springs , applauding the 15 organizations in California from LA Pride to the San Francisco LGBT Community Center that support The Pledge for Full LGBT Equality, at the heart of this new campaign.
Dr Dana Beyer, a recent state senate candidate in Maryland and a highly respected community member, will speak on behalf of Gender Rights Maryland. Transgender Rights Advocate, Consuella Lopez, from the DC Mayor’s LGBT Advisory Board spoke on the horrific suffering of TransGender Americans, from homelessness to suicide, as pictures were lifted up of fallen LGBT children to the song, Echos by Rev McCray.
Cindy Bray, Treasurer of LGBT Democrats of Virginia, and Dr Robin H Gorsline, of People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, who both brought the activist spirit and spiritual determination to bear. Rev Wes Jamison, also of United Church of Christ, offered a special prayer written for the occasion.
“All believers in equality and justice for LGBT Americans are urged to gather as we set a tone of inclusive and loving-kindness for the campaign ahead,” said Todd Fernandez, campaign manager for The Equality Pledge Network. “Our suffering requires we unite immediately to outlaw anti-LGBTQ abuse, to end the judgment, and to welcome all LGBT souls in community embrace. Join us.”
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