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Join the Impact

Activism Rooted in the Internet

Archive for July, 2009

The Great Nationwide Kiss-In

Posted by willow On July - 22 - 2009

David Mailloux is an event coordinator with the Massachusetts chapter of Join the Impact. He is also the national press contact and national volunteer coordinator for the Great Nationwide Kiss-In, and will be planning the Boston Kiss-In event alongside JTI-MA co-chairs Paul Souand Morgan Collado. This is his first national event, so please be gentle. You can reach him at dymsumblog@gmail.com

When I first heard of the incident in El Paso, where two gay men and their friends were harassed by security guards and police officers for kissing in public, I thought it was a fluke. Then, only a couple of days later, I learned that a similar incident occurred in Salt Lake City – one man kisses his boyfriend on the cheek and, within minutes, they find themselves thrown on the pavement and handcuffed by Mormon Church security guards. A few months earlier, a woman kissed her girlfriend in a San Antonio mall, and essentially the same thing happens – except they were arrested!
They were kissing! On the cheek! It’s so innocent, so pure, probably the purest sign of affection there is, but these men and women were harassed, detained, even arrested for it. And this is 2009, folks. There is no question that this happened because they were gay. That’s the bottom line, and it’s not right.
A friend, and fellow blogger, David Badash published a blog about this (you can read that blog here) a couple of weeks ago. As soon as I read it, I realized that he and I had to band together on this one. We both started talking about it to friends and acquaintances on Twitter. How can such a beautiful expression of one’s love for another person be deemed inappropriate, or labeled “faggot stuff” and result in arrests? We wanted to find others who wanted to make a strong statement to everyone everywhere: that kissing is not a bad thing, nor has it ever been. It’s not illegal, nor is it vulgar or inappropriate. It’s a sign of affection that is as old as time itself. And it’s a beautiful thing that we share with our loved ones every single day. And if there is anything that this country needs more of, it’s definitely love – love and affection and kindness. Most of all, though, it’s love.
As a result of all the blogging, networking and rage, David Badash and I are joining forces with Join The Impact’s Co-Founder, Willow Witte, to organize the Great Nationwide Kiss-In, on Saturday, August 15, 2009, at 2 p.m., EDT (or 11 a.m., PDT). In the coming weeks, we hope it evolves into a simultaneous occasion of kissing and hugging between thousands of couples, gay and straight, in cities and towns all over the country. This will be a fun and lighthearted event, but one with an extraordinarily strong message as well: we are human, capable of a beautiful normal love like everyone else in the world. We won’t keep being excluded. There is nothing wrong with us.
Please consider joining us on August 15, both to have fun and to send out that extraordinary message to folks all over the country. If you want to host/organize an event similar to what is already being planned in Boston, New York and several other cities, please e-mail us at GreatNationwideKissIn@gmail.com as soon as possible; we will send you written guidance on how to plan your event. Again, it’s going to be really simple to put together, but we need people from as many different cities as possible to help us. In advance, thank you!

Bar in Texas Raided On 40 yr Anniversary of Stonewall

Posted by willow On July - 3 - 2009

This blog was written by Eric Ross, a Join the Impact organizer in the East Bay of California. He is also the founder of Students for Equality, an organization dedicated to getting high school and college students more involved in LGBTQ Activism. He can be found on facebook and twitter as @LGBT_Activist

In the early morning hours of Sunday, June 29, 2009, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) was accompanied by officers from the Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD) to conduct what they called a routine check at a gay bar called the Rainbow Lounge. A total of three bars were inspected that night (the other bars were the Rosedale Saloon and the Cowboy Palace); however the “routine inspection” at the Rainbow Lounge resulted in one person (26 year old Chad Gibson) being hospitalized with a head injury, and witnesses at have been claiming that excessive force was used with many customers at the bar.  Witnesses are saying that even though 7 people were arrested, many more were dragged out of the bar. People are actually calling the event a “Police Raid”. What makes the story even more interesting is that the incident just happened to fall on the 40th anniversary of Stonewall. Is this a coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.

Stories have been popping up all over the internet claiming that police came armed with zip ties and were overly aggressive to the people in the bar (you can find links to some of the stories toward the bottom of this article).  An early statement by the police said that they encountered hostile and argumentative drunks that made “sexually explicit movements” and even “assaulted a TABC agent by grabbing the agent’s groin.” Witnesses claim that these allegations are false and the police harassed people for no reason. Regardless of whether or not the above allegations are true, a man was still admitted to the hospital with a brain injury and there is no excuse or justification for that.

People are outraged with the FWPD, but the interesting thing is that Fort Worth was one of the first cities in Texas to pass a non-discrimination ordinance including LGBT people. The State of Texas does not currently have a non-discrimination ordinance that includes LGBT people, and the TABC (a state organization) are the ones that arrested Chad Gibson. Another interesting thing is that Fort Worth Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead has become proactive by saying he’ll add LGBT liaison and sensitivity training. So far the TABC has not stepped up to offer improvements in their organization. Is it needed? What really happened at the Rainbow Lounge? A thorough investigation is needed to find out exactly what happened, and who is responsible for the hospitalization of Gibson.

Here are some things that you can do to help out:

1.    A facebook group has been created and is called “Rainbow Lounge Raid”. It mentions that an account has been set up at Frost Bank to benefit Gibson and people can make donations to Q Cinema for the benefit of Chad Gibson (the donation is through Q Cinema in order to be tax deductible). The account number is 608439230. Make checks out to “Q Cinema FBO Chad Gibson. It also mentions that the ability to make online donations will be coming soon.
2.    You can also send emails to Fort Worth councilmembers to demand a full and independent investigation into the appalling raid on the Rainbow Lounge. The key word here is “Independent” to ensure the investigation is not biased. So far, only Joel Burns and two of his colleagues have called for a swift, thorough, open and transparent investigation.

•    Councilmember W.B. “Zim” Zimmerman
817-392-8803
District3@fortworthgov.org

•    Councilmember Danny Scarth
817-392-8804
District4@fortworthgov.org

•    Councilmember Frank Moss
817-392-8805
District5@fortworthgov.org

•    Councilmember Jungus Jordan
817-392-8806
District6@fortworthgov.org

•    Councilmember Carter Burdette
817-392-8807
District7@fortworthgov.org

•    Mayor Mike Moncrief
817-392-6118
mike.moncrief@fortworthgov.org

3.    Call and send emails to thank the people who have supported a thorough investigation:

•    Councilmember Joel Burns
817-392-8809
District9@fortworthgov.org

•    Senator Wendy Davis
(817) 332-3338
wendy.davis@senate.state.tx.us

•    House Representative Lon Burnam
(817) 924-1997
lon.burnam@house.state.tx.us

4.    Upcoming events for people in or near Fort Worth, TX:
•    7/03/09 – 9 p.m. Benefit Show for Chad Gibson, Rainbow Lounge
•    7/14/09 – 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 14: Fort Worth City Council Meeting, Fort Worth Municipal Building
1000 Throckmorton St.

This blog was written by Eric Ross who is a Join the Impact organizer in the East Bay of California.
Follow him on:
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Ross/843099482
Twitter – @LGBT_Activist

Here are some articles regarding the Rainbow Lounge Incident:

Star Telegram – http://www.star-telegram.com/804/story/1460939.html?storylink=omni_popular

The Dallas Morning News – http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/localnews/columnists/jfloyd/stories/063009dnmetfloyd.3bddb2c.html

The Dallas Voice – http://www.dallasvoice.com/artman/publish/article_11521.php

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s Statement – http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/public_information/notices/2009/multipleArrests.asp

The Caucus Blog – http://thecaucusblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/fort-worth-council-member-joel-burns.html

The Stranger (SLOG) – http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2009/06/30/fort-worth-police-chief-that-faggot-had-it-coming

Fairness Works – The American Dream In

Posted by admin On July - 1 - 2009

Fairness does work.  Unfortunately millions are not protected from unfair job termination because of sexual orientation or gender identity.  Join the Impact hopes to change the landscape by helping pass three important pieces of legislation, the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), and the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).

The American Dream is a fundamental promise to each and every citizen that they have the opportunity to advance beyond their current condition to a better life rich with opportunity. The Dream is an ideal our country continues to strive for but does not always fulfill.  For some gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people the Dream is challenged by workplace discrimination and early termination based solely on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Yesterday,  June 30, Lt. Dan Choi who has worked bravely for his country as a mission critical soldier with Arabic language skills, was fired because he publicly acknowledged he is gay. This injustice must end now! We have to fight to end institutionalized discrimination and homophobia, and education is part of that fight.

It is time for America to wake up, to learn, and to urge Congress to end decades of discrimination right now!

Here’s how YOU can help.  A committee of Join the Impact volunteers developed a set of tools for you to use to teach your friends, families, and neighbors about ENDA, EFCA, and the repeal of DADT.  These tools will help you explain workforce discrimination, its impact on our culture, our military, and our families. Knowledge is power, and together we will focus our power on our Representatives during the August recess.

To learn more and to sign-up to host a Fairness Works American Dream-In, simply go to http://jointheimpact.wetpaint.com/ to sign up. You can also help spread the word on facebook!

Still haven’t set up your in-district visits to help pass ENDA? Find out how here http://bit.ly/10Ot47

Your help is vital to the success of this program.  Please volunteer, so together we can make an impact!