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National Equality March

October 11, 2009

Well, I’m pooped.  After a long day of walking and listening to speeches on the lawn of the Capitol, I’m home and processing all that we saw and heard today.  There were some truly inspiring speeches and I think I saw a total of 3 people protesting the 200,000 to 250,000 attendees (according to police estimates).  Not a bad ratio.

Below are a few of the most memorable speeches.  David Mixner and Cleve Jones were both incredibly moving and reflected the history of the movement that many of us of the “Prop 8 generation” cannot begin to fully comprehend.  This context is key for all of us to understand moving forward.

I felt there was a good mix of criticism of President Obama and also understanding of the position he is in and the role we must play in the push for equal rights.  We can’t expect them to be delivered to us, but we need to pressure our existing policymaker allies and make new ones.  We’re lucky to have a true friend in the White House, but that isn’t enough for immediate action (more on Obama’s saturday night speech to the HRC).

There were also a good number of digs made at Barney Frank who had previously said that “the only thing they’re going to be putting pressure on is the grass,” not the policymakers who work in the Capitol.  What I think he underestimated when he said this was the role it could play to rally a base that is still wounded in the post-Prop 8 world.  To me, this was as well worth the time and energy of the organizers if only for the sense of community and camaraderie that it created.

I was disappointed in the lack of discussion of the referendums in Maine and Washington.  I feel like there is a lack of energy around these two races and can’t help but wonder if it is for fear of putting our emotional eggs in one basket (or two).  A lot of people were really burned in the wake of Prop 8, and I question if people are afraid of the outcome in Maine and Washington.

Here are are my favorite speeches from the day (and a few of my pictures).  I’m disappointed to not have the speeches of the four young people aren’t online yet–they were truly remarkable.

A view of the Capitol
The family of a gay teen in from Ohio

There are probably thousands of photos of this dog on Flickr right now

David Mixner on the need to remember our history and “the shoulders of giants” on which we stand:

Cynthia Nixon:

Cleve Jones (after an intro speaker):

Julian Bond in 2 parts (as eloquent and inspiring as always):

Dustin Lance Black:

More video is available here

National Equality March (Courtesy of BBC)
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