I’m sitting on a plane flying from Vegas back to Seattle, WA. I have been in Vegas for 3 days for a work-related conference and have spent my nights into early mornings in my hotel room, sifting through emails, answering phone calls, and getting the word out. You know how sometimes you sit on a plane and end up in a nonstop conversation with the person next to you? And since their proximity is so close to you, there is no real way to stop the conversation without being rude. And none of us want to be rude to the person we are going to sit next to for the next 2-3 hours. Well the people behind me are in this predicament. They first started talking about what is truth, then shifted to truth in politics, and then I heard it… the statement that made me wake up from my attempt at sleeping, open this computer, and start writing: Someone asked “Have you heard of this protest thing happening? Have you heard of Join The Impact?” I must admit, I have now been rudely eavesdropping as these people continue the conversation. On a plane ride, flying across the country, two perfect strangers are talking about our rights!! Ladies and Gentleman, we have started something huge! Saturday is fast approaching and it’s time I share with you what we plan to do next.
It is the wish of the JoinTheImpact team to keep working with and for our community. Over this week, we have been contacted by multiple organizations and fellowships who want to work with us to continue this conversation, to drive this movement, to work harder than we’ve ever worked before and make a gigantic difference in this world! JoinTheImpact is about unifying as one and working together to bring about positive change. On November 4th, our opponents thought that they won. They thought we had fallen. On November 7th, a call to action was made and on November 15th our community WILL RISE! Moving forward, we will not step down, we will not be silenced, and we will not compromise our rights! JoinTheImpact will team up with other grass roots organizations like MillionGayMarch.com and other like-minded organizations that share our same goals – We will band together for rapid movement and ultimate coverage. Together with these organizations we are forming OFFER: the Organized Fellowship For Equal Rights. JoinTheImpact and other members of OFFER will help guide this movement, but we need you in the drivers seat! As I said on November 7th, we can not do this alone! This community is unifying and we need to act with one loud, proud, and strong voice!
Moving forward, JoinTheImpact will continue it’s work with WetPaint.com to give you a central location for organizing. Here you will have a venue to share video, images, and stories from November 15th and other national initiatives we have planned. This is also a venue to continue the conversation and engage in healthy debate. We hope to make this a source for your local community as well; local organizers will have the opportunity to display events and organize through this resource. Most importantly, JoinTheImpact will be a call to arms. We will plan many national demonstrations in order to engage people in the conversation and show the nation why we need these rights and that we WILL achieve equal rights! Beyond these national movements, we will be an emergency response team in any instance that our community needs us. If, God forbid, something violent happens to one of us, as what happened to Matthew Sheppard and many after, we will come together and respond on a level that no one has ever seen before! We will not rest until equal rights are available to all of us!
The following dates are set for national initiatives that will keep the conversation and let our country see what an IMPACT we can and do make:
December 10th 2008: Day Without a Gay. There was some confusion about the date, but two organizations proposed this great initiative and we combined into one. On December 10th, we ask that the LGBTQ community Call in Gay! Don’t go to work, don’t consume, don’t contribute to this economy at all… instead, contribute to your community through volunteer work, community outreach, and social outreach. We are taking a new spin on boycott. During the busy shopping season where analysts have year over year numbers, we want to watch the graph dip as we take our tax dollars and keep them. Instead, we will give to the organizations that need our time and help. We are taxpaying citizens who contribute to this economy. We deserve legal protections from our government and marriage provides 10,000+ legal protections that are not awarded to our families! Read Joel Stein’s Call to Action and Visit DayWithoutAGay.org (Remember the Date will be December 10th NOT the 5th)
January 10th, 2009: National Protest. Let’s do this again! We’ve done so much with only one week of planning. Now imagine what we can do with 2 months! It’s time we get out and protest all of the anti-gay ballot initiatives from 2008 AND the initiatives from 2004: DOMA. DOMA exists in 37 states throughout our country! Full equality will not exist with DOMA. We need to bring the nation’s attention back to this, keep their attention on Prop 8’s revoking of rights, and keep giving this country a reason to talk!
Also, we ask that everyone who can, show your support for equality: Light up this nation with the Blue For Equality Movement! Help us show the community that they are not alone! Get the word out and show your colors for equality!
Between now and then, what will we be doing you ask? This conversation will never stop! We will not take a day off. Going forward, here is what we ask of you: Try to engage in one respectful conversation a day in which you can plant the seed of change in an individual who is not like-minded. We have to respect every one’s rights to believe what they wish, but we can work towards asking that they keep their beliefs from infringing upon our lives. America’s population is 301,109,947 people. Given the statistic that 10% of the population is LGBTQ, imagine if all 30million of us had just 10 conversations. Now imagine if we had one every day! This movement is about all of us working toward one goal of outreach, education, and full equality. If we work together, we can change minds, change laws, and change lives! As such, I am proudly announcing the following goal for everyone involved: 10 months 10 Lives Changed.
This is about impacting the nation and driving a country-wide and even world-wide positive change! We can not let this country forget about the rights revoked when Proposition 8 passed. For too long we have stayed silent as states passed DOMA laws hindering our abilities to share insurance, visit our loved one in the hospital, and fully protect our families in case of emergency. Moving forward, JoinTheImpact will fight for our rights as a community; we MUST continue working toward them as a nation and not let our opponents divide and conquer anymore.
I don’t know about you, but I have had some amazing conversations on an airplane… even when I least expect it. I always try to look stand-offish, I try to bury my head in a book, but sure enough I sometimes find myself engaging in a conversation for the entire flight because somebody took the opportunity of proximity to bend my ear on the issue they were passionate about. The conversation behind me has stopped, and one mind WAS changed. Now two people, instead of one, will be there fighting with us on Saturday! There are a great deal of people out there avoiding this conversation and trying to look stand-offish. Many of them don’t even know what we are fighting for and only voted for DOMA or Prop 8 because they only heard one side of the story. These are the people who need to hear from us. So I ask of you, even if their head is buried in a book, give them some breathing room, let them use one of the arm rests, and take the opportunity to engage them. Soon enough, our flight will land in a country where there is truly freedom and equality for all!