The past three days have seemed like an eternity. So much has happened, and I realized that in all this, we never gave you any background about JoinTheImpact. On Friday morning, November 7th, I (Amy) received an email from a good friend, Willow Witte (our Cleveland protest coordinator). Willow like many of us, was fired up about Proposition 8 and seeking a way to mobilize. She had put up a post on her blog with an email template for people to write their local LGBTQ organization and ask for help planning something – anything. I responded to Willow’s email saying that we shouldn’t wait, we need to mobilize now and we need to on a national level, at the exact same moment, throughout the country. We have allowed our opponents to take our issues and make them local. Once they have divided us, they take their national movement and attack our smaller state-wide or even city-wide one. JoinTheImpact was forged as a way to give our community a national stage. We all must work towards equality in our state, but we need to know that every member of our community, across the nation cares about what happens in every state. California, Arkansas, Florida, and Arizona should not stand alone in this fight. We must all stand with them and for each other. These ideals are what spawned JoinTheImpact. That is who we were on November 7th at 9am PST.
Now, 4 days later, we are more than anyone could have imagined. Look in the mirror. We are you. We are your family. We are your loved ones and your allies. JoinTheImpact has not just gone national, it has gone international! Here’s the timetable so far:
1. November 7th – Launch
2. 5 Hours post launch – First 10,000 visitors
3. Midnight on November 7th – 20 cities organizing
4. November 8th (Afternoon) – Thanks to the help of organizers, we made CNN’s iReport.
5. November 8th (Evening) – Our site hit 35K visitors
6. November 9th (Morning) – 30 cities organizing
7. November 9th (Afternoon) – We got the attention of ParezHilton.com
8. November 9th (Evening) – The tipping point – Traffic jumped to 50K visitors/hour. With the help of Hostdango.com, we immediately switched to a new web server (Generously donated by Hostdango!)
9. November 10th 8am PST – Our initiative goes international! Now there are protests being planned around the world for the exact same minute on November 15th!
10. November 10th 11am PST – WetPaint.com enters the mix of local Seattle based companies donating time and services. Thanks to WetPaint, we now have an amazing Wiki to upload contact information and protest locations for every single city! They created a social site just for us: http://jointheimpact.wetpaint.com.
11. November 10th 11pm PST – 49 states have local organizers in over 80 cities!!!
12. November 11th – 1am PST – We reached 1million visitors!!
13. November 11th 8am PST – Hostdango shows even more generosity by upgrading us to an amazingly robust dedicated server to ensure that we can handle the traffic!
Simply put, JoinTheImpact is no longer two people emailing back and forth on a Friday morning. JoinTheImpact has become a national community. It has become a grassroots movement of such immense proportions! You are the impact!
In just 4 days, we have joined together for a protest that will make history, if we handle it with respect. We need to know that this is step one of many. JoinTheImpact will be with you every step of the way fighting the good fight until every one of us has achieved full equality, but this fight will not end with one protest. We need to keep the momentum moving.
As our movement grows to such immense levels, you can imagine that we are getting some angry emails. This means that you will most likely find people at your protests that aren’t there to help; they are instead there to have their own protest. Don’t let something like this get you down. This is an opportunity just waiting for you! I keep talking about how we can’t stop the “conversation” and how this protest is a way to keep it going. In a conversation, there is always the possibility of conflicting opinions. As such, here is what I ask of you:
We need to stay strong in the face of ignorance and remain respectful to those that disagree with us, even when they choose not to respect us. No one can win a fight with anger at the wheel. We must understand that our opponents are afraid of change. They are afraid of what will happen if the word marriage encompasses our community as well. Rather than give them more reasons to fear, we must carry on the conversation with respect. Many of us are angry, and I know how hard it is to move past anger, but if we let the anger move us, we lose control of the conversation. Anger only achieves more anger – in the end, someone is always on the defense, and when trying to achieve universal change, we will always meet opposition when we play the game of offense and defense. Among many rights, we are demanding the 10,000 + rights that come along with marriage. What’s important about this is that marriage is an institution of responsibility. Even though so many committed LGBTQ couples have proven that they take this responsibility very seriously, our opponents don’t agree. This is because of respect. Beyond our community, our nation needs to reexamine our expectations of respect. Respect is something earned, it is not a privilege, it is not a right, and it is not something anyone is obligated to provide to anyone else. Just like anger only achieves more anger, respect is only gained when one person takes the first step to put it into the equation. Respect and responsibility go hand in hand for many, and our opponents grasp to whatever they can to believe that we are not deserving of either. So let us take away anything that would allow them to believe this. This protest is to keep the conversation going, but let’s keep it going with respect. Rather than meet our opponents with anger, we must meet them with open ears. If we expect our opponents to listen to us, we need to listen to them. I know from experience that this doesn’t sway everyone, but it allows them to really hear another side of the story. Maybe it won’t change their mind today, maybe not tomorrow, but all you need to do is plant the seed. If you respect them, then they will have to respect you back and that seed will grow. If they still choose not to respect you back, then it’s not your loss, it is theirs. Let’s not be victims. Victims are angry. Victims are reactionary. Victims will always have an excuse to hide behind. If this site has proven only one thing it’s this: We are all victorious! We are all strong! We are all compassionate and respectful of one another! If we allow anger to determine our movements, then we become victims and we are not going to be victims anymore! We are going to take the wheel and we are going to show the world just how strong, ambitious, and adamant we can be! If we allow respect, intelligent debate, and education to rule our movements, then we are the virtuous ones and our opponents will have to listen. I’ve said it many times on this blog and I’ll say it again: We must infiltrate (push the conversation, drive the conversation, get out and protest) in order to educate (converse with opponents, seek out those who aren’t likeminded and engage in debate) and only then, can we end hate!
Infiltrate. Educate. End Hate.