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A Long Awaited Update: Open Letter Signatures

Posted by amy On January - 25 - 2009

Hi Everyone,

I can’t even beging to tell you how many emails I have received this week regarding the Open Letter Signature Drive.  I apologize to everyone for not updating you in a timely manner, but the truth is, we are STILL counting signatures.  This is a GREAT problem to have!  It means that we had so many people participating, that the core group we put together to handle 1 million signatures, are overwhelmed!  One of our board members got a call on the 16th of the month from the post office.  They asked him to come over there immediately because they couldn’t handle the amount of mail we were receiving!  His apartment is covered with signature sheets!!

We did the math.  Each signature sheet has the ability to contain 20 signatures.  To get 1 million signatures, that means a MINIMUM of 50,000 sheets of paper!  Stacked on top of each other, 50,000 sheets of paper would be a little over 4feet tall!  Talk about an amazing visual impact!  Well, we have around 4-5ft of paper right now, and have decided to EXTEND the signature drive to DOUBLE our impact!  We are doing this because weather and college break got in the way of about 7 states participating.  Ohio had to cancel their event because of a huge snow storm.  Manhattan’s turn out was affected by weather.  Small college towns were just returning from break.  The list goes on.  We want to ensure that EVERYONE has a voice in this and EVERYONE’S SIGNATURE COUNTS! Because of this, we pushed our deadline to hand the signatures to Obama to the end of February.  We will need all signature sheets mid-Feb to ensure that they all get counted.  This ensures that the letter gets to Obama while Congress begins their session and that EVERYONE has the opportunity to participate.

So here’s what we are going to do:

  1. We hope that you’ll join us and print out the Open Letter and Signature Sheets and start collecting more signatures.
  2. Send signatures to our Ohio office BY MONDAY FEB 16TH to ensure all are counted
  3. Here’s a new twist based on feedback from our members: Write your own letter, sign it, and send it our way, we’ll ensure it gets to him.
  4. If you can’t get to a printer, then let me send you a letter and some signature sheets, as well as a self-addressed stamped envelope for you to mail the signatures back.  Use the contact us form to request the forms.

Many people want us to turn this into an online signature drive, but we feel that this will negate the purpose.  Many online petitions are taken less seriously and considered much less valid.  We have a 4.5foot stack of signatures to bring to Obama!  We want to make that 10 feet tall!  Handing over a DVD with all the signatures just doesn’t make the same visual impact.  We want the world to see just how many of us there are that support full equality for LGBTQI citizens!  Let’s do this in the most organic way possible.

Further, we want everyone to continue the conversation of equality.  This signature drive provides each and every one of you with the opportunity to do this.  So who’s with us?  Ready to kick it up a notch?

A Long Awaited Update: Open Letter Signatures

Posted by admin On January - 25 - 2009

Hi Everyone,

I can’t even beging to tell you how many emails I have received this week regarding the Open Letter Signature Drive.  I apologize to everyone for not updating you in a timely manner, but the truth is, we are STILL counting signatures.  This is a GREAT problem to have!  It means that we had so many people participating, that the core group we put together to handle 1 million signatures, are overwhelmed!  One of our board members got a call on the 16th of the month from the post office.  They asked him to come over there immediately because they couldn’t handle the amount of mail we were receiving!  His apartment is covered with signature sheets!!

We did the math.  Each signature sheet has the ability to contain 20 signatures.  To get 1 million signatures, that means a MINIMUM of 50,000 sheets of paper!  Stacked on top of each other, 50,000 sheets of paper would be a little over 4feet tall!  Talk about an amazing visual impact!  Well, we have around 4-5ft of paper right now, and have decided to EXTEND the signature drive to DOUBLE our impact!  We are doing this because weather and college break got in the way of about 7 states participating.  Ohio had to cancel their event because of a huge snow storm.  Manhattan’s turn out was affected by weather.  Small college towns were just returning from break.  The list goes on.  We want to ensure that EVERYONE has a voice in this and EVERYONE’S SIGNATURE COUNTS! Because of this, we pushed our deadline to hand the signatures to Obama to the end of February.  We will need all signature sheets mid-Feb to ensure that they all get counted.  This ensures that the letter gets to Obama while Congress begins their session and that EVERYONE has the opportunity to participate.

So here’s what we are going to do:

  1. We hope that you’ll join us and print out the Open Letter and Signature Sheets and start collecting more signatures.
  2. Send signatures to our Ohio office BY MONDAY FEB 16TH to ensure all are counted
  3. Here’s a new twist based on feedback from our members: Write your own letter, sign it, and send it our way, we’ll ensure it gets to him.
  4. If you can’t get to a printer, then let me send you a letter and some signature sheets, as well as a self-addressed stamped envelope for you to mail the signatures back.  Use the contact us form to request the forms.

Many people want us to turn this into an online signature drive, but we feel that this will negate the purpose.  Many online petitions are taken less seriously and considered much less valid.  We have a 4.5foot stack of signatures to bring to Obama!  We want to make that 10 feet tall!  Handing over a DVD with all the signatures just doesn’t make the same visual impact.  We want the world to see just how many of us there are that support full equality for LGBTQI citizens!  Let’s do this in the most organic way possible.

Further, we want everyone to continue the conversation of equality.  This signature drive provides each and every one of you with the opportunity to do this.  So who’s with us?  Ready to kick it up a notch?

DOMA Protest & Signature Drive 411

Posted by amy On January - 8 - 2009

We are just 2 days away from another NATIONAL event that will take us one step closer toward achieving full equality!  On January 10th, our voices will be heard around the nation as we shed light on DOMA and get 1 Million Signatures on our Open Letter to Barack Obama, reminding him of his promise to REPEAL DOMA!  This event is one that comes in many forms with rallies in almost every major city mixed with signature drives throughout the nation.  This Saturday, hundreds of cities around the nation will participate in one of our 4 fantastic options to get involved that include outreach, canvasing, and protests!  This will be a National Day of Impact!

It’s not too late to get involved.  Find an event near you today! If there is not an event in your area, it is not too late to put something together.  Take a que from Julie Phineas of LezGetReal.com – She has planned an entire day of signature gathering!

Check out her video encouraging people to attend her event!

There are 10 Ways to Help us reach 1 Million Signatures – Real People, Real Signatures, Real Change*:

  1. Gather signatures at your place of work (make sure it doesn’t hinder your HR policy)
  2. Go out to the bars on Friday and Saturday nights and get signatures
  3. Go to your local screening of MILK and get signatures from individuals in line or as they are leaving
  4. Go to local stores and ask that they put the signature pages at the counter
  5. Grab a friend and canvas your neighborhood asking for signatures
  6. Go to a local event to gain signatures (Art Walks, Concerts, etc)
  7. Email this blog post to friends and family, ask them to print out the signature page and mail it to Join the Impact
  8. Attend one of the 100 National Rallies on January 10th to gain signatures
  9. Go to church on Sunday and ask for signatures
  10. Use the power of the internet: Blog about it, ping all your friends on Facebook/MySpace, send this message to EVERYONE

*Many have asked why this is not an online petition.  Simply put, we want this to be as real as possible.  Online petitions have less validity and less impact.  We want to show Obama that we can mobilize 1 million people and we need to do this in the most organic way possible.  It’s easy to get 1 million signatures in an online petition.  It takes time, commitment, and energy to get 1 million physical signatures though.  Let’s show Obama just how committed we are to this cause!

Jan 10th DOMA Protest – Tools for Success

Posted by amy On January - 6 - 2009

Breaking News – Author of DOMA Asks for Repeal

Posted by amy On January - 5 - 2009

One week before our National DOMA protest, the waves of change are already starting to form! Bob Barr, the infamous author of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), wrote an op-ed in the LA Times stating that DOMA should be repealed!  This is something worth celebrating, and something we should take to the next level.

Ever since we announced January 10th’s National DOMA Protest, we learned that many members of the LGBTQ community do not even know what DOMA is.  DOMA, put simply, is one current reason LGBTQ rights are so hard to come by.  When you drill down to the heart of DOMA, it was launched as an effort to keep same-sex couples from gaining the same rights as heterosexual married couples… in other words, it was born out of a need to restrict the rights of the LGBTQ community.  DOMA has been used time and time again to continually restrict the rights of the LGBTQ community in employment, spousal benefits, property ownership, insurance, etc.  Many view it as discrimination written into the constitution (I am one of those many).

On January 10th, we are protesting to repeal DOMA and to gain 1 Million Signatures on our Open Letter to Barack Obama.  This letter is meant to serve as a reminder to Obama of the promises that he made to our community, which he wrote in an Open Letter to the LGBTQ Community in early 2008.  In that letter, he promised to repeal DOMA.  We drafted a letter that uses his exact words in an effort to remind him just how accountable we expect him to be for his promises.  Many requests have been made to broaden this letter and add a request for full gay marriage, or other initiatives to the list.  We do not want to deter from the point of the letter though: Repeal DOMA.  Hold True to Your Promises.  Your Words DO Have Meaning.

DOMA Defined:

On September 21st, 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was signed into federal law. DOMA, wrote discrimination into the Constitution with two strict regulations:

  1. No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) need treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state.
  2. The Federal Government may not treat same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose, even if concluded or recognized by one of the states.

To drive the point even further, 37 states slowly but surely adopted DOMA as a state-wide regulation further amending state Constitutions. This appalling law tells the American people that it is OK to discriminate. That it is OK to recognize the LGBTQ community as less than equal. This same law, that the California Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional set the precedence for Proposition 8. This same law has nullified many rights that come with Domestic Partnerships. This law does not just affect members of the LGBTQ community – it also repeals rights from heterosexual non-married couples.  This law has nullified the heterosexual rights that come with Common Law Marriage. This law blurred the lines of separation of church and state even further. And this law, is one of many that President Elect Barack Obama has PROMISED to repeal in his “Open Letter to the LGBTQ Community.

DOMA is not a speed bump on the road to full equality.  It is not even a road block.  DOMA is a gigantic brick wall that is crumbling!  On January 10th, we encourage you to find a protest in or near your city.  Join in this important national moment, where we will work together to shed light on the negative effects of DOMA.  Help us get signatures between now and Jan 10th on the Open Letter to Barack Obama.  Bob Barr, who created the beast, is now in our corner to help us defeat it!  He started the wall crumbling, now it’s time we come together this Saturday with our own “demo team” to help tear it down!

Take a STAND on January 10th

Posted by amy On December - 22 - 2008

Across the country in hundreds of cities, we came together on December 20th in vigil. This was a protest in the spirit of the holiday season, and one that helped us reach 1 Million people with our message of equality. While we didn’t change the hearts and minds of all 1 Million, we did change the lives of many. This highly successful event grew our base, and that growth will show with our next goal: 1 Million Signatures.

On January 10th, 2009 we ask that you join us to unite again! This movement WILL NOT BE WON WITHOUT VISIBILITY. 50 Cities across the country have already jumped on board to organize. And that’s just in a few days of planning. We got 300 cities with 1 week of notice on November 15th. We can easily exceed that this time around. So, on January 10th, we ask that you join us in your city for one or all of the following events:

  • A protest in your area to bring attention to DOMA and the promise that Barack Obama made to repeal DOMA.
  • Organize a transportation unit in your city to get people to the closest DOMA protest
  • Canvas your city to get signatures for our Open Letter to Barack Obama.

In response to President-elect Barack Obama’s “Open Letter to the Gay Community,” we ask that you join us in signing our “Open Letter to Barack Obama,” to be revealed soon. It’s time we show the government how numerous we are. We need to show our impact and we’re going to take it to the White House!

The work done over this weekend will help us achieve and exceed this important goal. Help us get 1 Million signatures, and we’ll get it the letter in Obama’s hands.

Shedding Some Light on Rick Warren

Posted by amy On December - 19 - 2008

In the spirit of tomorrow’s national vigils (Light Up the Night for Equal Rights), I thought it would be a great idea to shed some light on the Rick Warren debate. Many people have added some great comments. I’ve highlighted a few here… what are your thoughts? Read the rest of this entry »

Rick Warren – What Can You Do

Posted by admin On December - 18 - 2008

A quick list of tools for everyone wanting to take action on the pick of Rick Warren for Obama’s invocation speech:

  1. The HRC will be on EVERY Newssource tonight speaking out about this. Please tell your friends and family. Here’s a list of TV spots. Let’s educate the movable middle by getting everyone to see at least one of these spots.
  2. Come out on December 20th to Light Up the Night for Equal Rights and show the nation that we are one strong, united, and very visible voice! A reader just commented on our Rick Warren post that Evangelicals make up 7-16% of our country and we make up 10%. Why do they get representation and we do not? Make your voice heard on December 20th and spread the word of equality. Rick Warren Views us as 2nd Class Citizens… This needs to be known!
  3. Equality California has stepped up to provide a legitimate petition (since there are many out there) to get Rick Warren taken off of the list of speakers on inauguration day. Please sign the petition. Print it out and gather signatures at your local Light Up the Night event and forward the link to everyone.

Rick Warren – What Can You Do

Posted by amy On December - 18 - 2008

A quick list of tools for everyone wanting to take action on the pick of Rick Warren for Obama’s invocation speech:

  1. The HRC will be on EVERY Newssource tonight speaking out about this. Please tell your friends and family. Here’s a list of TV spots. Let’s educate the movable middle by getting everyone to see at least one of these spots.
  2. Come out on December 20th to Light Up the Night for Equal Rights and show the nation that we are one strong, united, and very visible voice! A reader just commented on our Rick Warren post that Evangelicals make up 7-16% of our country and we make up 10%. Why do they get representation and we do not? Make your voice heard on December 20th and spread the word of equality. Rick Warren Views us as 2nd Class Citizens… This needs to be known!
  3. Equality California has stepped up to provide a legitimate petition (since there are many out there) to get Rick Warren taken off of the list of speakers on inauguration day. Please sign the petition. Print it out and gather signatures at your local Light Up the Night event and forward the link to everyone.

The Elephant in the Room – Rick Warren

Posted by amy On December - 18 - 2008

Over the last 24 hours, many have asked what Join The Impact’s take is on the pick of Rick Warren for President Elect Barack Obama’s invocation speech. Thousands of members have expressed anger, fear, sadness, confusion, aggrevation… the list goes on. Simply put, this is a slap in the face… especially in the wake of Proposition 8. In an effort to unify America, Obama’s choice could easily divide us further. In such a historic election, it is embarrassing that a man who DOES NOT stand for change is given a stronger voice than those that do.

The Reverend Rick Warren has spoken openly about his approval of Proposition 8 – saying that allowing Same-Sex Civil Marriage will somehow take away his freedom of speech. Honestly, I have no clue how an argument like that even holds water. There are still racists in this world Mr. Warren, and they still have the freedom to express their ignorance as unfortunate as it may be. This will not change for you WHEN WE DO RECEIVE FULL EQUALITY. The fact is, our fight for equality is like pulling off a band aid: if you continue to fight it, it’s only going to hurt more… either way, that band aid is bound to come off and you’ll realize that there is no scarring at all. Our rights do not affect you, they affect US!

If President Elect Barack Obama DOES NOT revoke his invitation to Rick Warren, then I see only one solution for the President Elect: find an openly gay leader and ask that they too have an opportunity to speak. Obama’s goal is to represent ALL Americans and he is grossly under-representing 10% of the population! To save face, he must contact an intelligent, well-known, political, and LGBTQ man or woman to speak at his inauguration. Some ideas that come to mind: Eliza Bayard of GLSEN, Joe Solmonese of the HRC, Andrew Sullivan, Kevin Jennings, Rea Carey of the NGLTF, the list goes on and on. Ultimately this might be a golden opportunity to educate the public and increase LGBTQ representation on Inauguration day by DEMANDING an LGBTQ speaker. Of course, if Obama were to choose a fully inclusive religious leader to give the invocation speech, then he can kill two birds with one stone… but it seems like he’s making it difficult on himself, so it’s time we give ourselves a voice and make our visibility known! We will NOT BE IGNORED!

I keep coming back to the following: Obama can’t go back on his word. Sure, politics is politics – everyone goes back on their word too many times to count. But President Elect Barack Obama has made it clear that these should not be the standards. He sold us on his character, his ethics, and his morals. He sold us on his promises. In many ways, this issue is a double-edged sword. He promised to give EVERYONE a voice and that includes Rick Warren. He promised to include ALL ideas and beliefs in his cabinet. Therefore, in SOME points of view, his choice of Rick Warren, could also be viewed as him sticking to his promises. So, Mr. President Elect, we at JoinTheImpact implore you to CONTINUE sticking to your promises. If EVERYONE deserves a voice – then GIVE US ONE AS WELL. You made many PROMISES to the LGBTQ community. So when will you start calling on one of our leaders to speak? It is our duty to continuously remind President Elect Barack Obama of the MANY promises he made to our community: REPEAL DOMA, REPEAL Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, STRENGTHEN Hate Crimes Legislation, PASS a Fully Inclusive Federal ENDA law… and now, since you have clearly given one viewpoint a voice, you must also give us a VOICE on inauguration day as well!

On December 20th – We will all UNITE to Light Up the Night for Equal Rights. Our Goal is to REACH 1 Million People. Based on our numbers, this is an easy goal to accomplish. So now is the time to STEP IT UP A NOTCH. Now is the time to show this country exactly why Rick Warren DOES NOT speak for us. If Obama won’t give us a voice, then WE HAVE TO DO IT OURSELVES! On December 20th, we have been asking that you come with “2nd Class Citizen” shirts on. Clearly, Barack Obama has chosen someone who DOES consider us 2nd Class Citizens to speak on behalf of all the people. We need to let the people know the words that are being put in their mouths. As such, I’m grabbing a sharpie and making some changes to my message on Saturday night. The messaging on my shirt will say the following: “RICK WARREN THINKS I’M A 2nd CLASS CITIZEN… Do You?” Join us to make our voices heard! Join us to make an impact! And Join us to SHED LIGHT on the darkeness of this important issue!