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Join the Impact

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Prop 8 Decision announced tomorrow!

Posted by willow On May - 25 - 2009

In November, over 6 months ago, we were devastated by the passing of California’s Proposition 8. Since March 5 our community has awaited the decision from the California Supreme Court on the validity of Proposition 8 and whether the 18,000 Marriages, JTI’s co-founder Amy’s among them, would stand.

Wanna get involved? Wanna help? Wanna know the moment the decision comes down?

1. KNOW THE RESULT- The court could issue the ruling as early as 10am. Be the first to know the decision with text alerts:
From National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) at

From Credo Mobile & Courage Campaign by texting DECISION to 27336

2. RESPOND- Whether we celebrate or protest, Day of Decision events have been organized throughout the US & Canada 90 cities & counting. To find the rally nearest you go to or text RALLY + your zip code to 27336

3. GET INVOLVED- Whether we win or lose Proposition 8, there is still much work to be done to get full equality under the law. We must engage communities that are reflective of Middle American values. In California this means heading to the Central Valley- which is why every Californian who is passionate about being involved in the fight for full equality in their state will be heading to Fresno for Meet In the Middle the Saturday after the Prop 8 decision.

Join The Impact has endorsed Meet In the Middle because we believe strongly that when we envision the necessary work in the LGBT movement we MUST take our stories beyond progressive states, cities and neighborhoods. We must do the work where it is hardest. We hope you’ll join us in the fight.

Cleve Jones, Dustin Lance Black, Michele Clunie, Charlize Theron and 70 plus endorsing organizations will be there. Will you?

If you’re outside California or can’t make it to Meet In The Middle you can support by giving a small donation, even $5 helps, to Meet In The Middle at

In my family, our history is a sacred part of our lives.  The stories of my ancestors were the stories I heard at bedtime; not Little Red Riding Hood.  In my mind, I can see the dewey morning that my great, great, great grandparents Frank and Sarah Martin set off from Indianapolis in a covered wagon 160 years ago much more clearly than I can see pigs building houses.  I’m actually embarassed to admit that before last November, I didn’t know who Harvey Milk was.  The tragedy of my generation of LGBT activists is that we have little ties to our roots.  LGBT history is not taught in public schools, or even at a college level unless you very specifically seek it out.  I studied business in college and never sought the history of our community; and so, I embarked on my journey into activism without ever hearing the name of one of our greatest heroes.

Over the course of the last several months, I have sought an education on Harvey Milk.  The movie MILK was gut-wrenching and uplifting at the same time, and formed a basis for my understanding.  Later, I would meet Cleve Jones, one of Milk’s interns during the late 1970s.  I watched The Life and Times of Harvey Milk and gained more insight. Harvey Milk was born 79 years ago today in New York, and before his entrance to activism he was a math geek.  This makes me smile — it’s nice to know that someone else has made the (sometimes rocky) transition from number crunching to community organizing.  What I also learned about Harvey Milk was that he served in the Navy right here in San Diego.  It wasn’t until he was 40 years old and had moved from New York to Texas, and then back to California, that he decided to stay in San Francisco.
If there is one moral that I take away from my new understanding of who Harvey Milk was, it is never too late to make a difference.  Harvey Milk truly lived an active life once moving to San Francisco.  He built coalitions with organized labor and showed that he wasn’t a single-issue organizer.  Milk respected and engaged youth in the movement, showed love and compassion for all of the people he represented (not just LGBT), and remained unphased by the cacophony telling him that he could not succeed.  And he did it all while remaining truly fabulous.  In 1999, TIME magazine honored Harvey Milk as one of the Most Important People of the Century, saying,

“There was a time when it was impossible for people — straight or gay — even to imagine a Harvey Milk. The funny thing about Milk is that he didn’t seem to care that he lived in such a time. After he defied the governing class of San Francisco in 1977 to become a member of its board of supervisors, many people — straight and gay — had to adjust to a new reality he embodied: that a gay person could live an honest life and succeed. That laborious adjustment plods on — now forward, now backward — though with every gay character to emerge on TV and with every presidential speech to a gay group, its eventual outcome favoring equality seems clear.”

(The excellent bio that TIME wrote of Milk can be found in full here.)

Here in California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had the opportunity to honor Harvey Milk last year, and declare May 22nd Harvey Milk Day in California.  The legislature overwhelmingly supported this.  Instead, the Governator chose to veto the bill, claiming that Harvey Milk was a historical figure of local importance only.  This year, San Diego was proud not only to recognize Harvey Milk in our city by declaring today Harvey Milk Day in San Diego, but we also hosted the Inaugural Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast.  We recognized Milk for his great contributions not only to the local area of San Francisco but to the broad issue of equal rights.

The genius of Harvey Milk was not that he had any special perception of the problems facing our community. We all – given the time and inclination – can enumerate any number of problems that we would like to see addressed. Rather, what Milk saw differently was the need for new solutions.  He saw that change was coming too slowly when it came at all, identified the need for a new angle on creating that change, and then took the all-important step of acting personally to make it happen.  Milk didn’t just open up the opportunity, he also created a standard against which we can and should measure ourselves.  By refusing to accept the establishment position on slow, plodding, non-disruptive “progress,” he set the bar to which our entire movement ought to be holding itself.

Tonight, as I light a candle in honor of the 79th birthday of our great hero Harvey Milk, I am thankful for the way in which he lived his life without apology, and the legacy he left for each of us to follow: a legacy of hope, of coalition, and of not being afraid to be who we are.

Sara Beth Brooks, who authored this post, is the Western Regional Liason for Join the Impact.  She helped organize San Diego’s November 15th protest which had 25,000 people in attendance.  She is the Executive Chair of the San Diego Equality Campaign.  In her day job, she is a bookkeeper.  You can contact her at

Richmond’s Jane Doe – Update

Posted by amy On January - 2 - 2009

4 people were taken in as the alleged rapists of December 13th’s brutal gang rape and attack on a Richmond, CA woman.

This is the beginning of a new year. Over the next 12 months, we will continue to win in the face of ignorance. We WILL continue to remain visible and strong. We WILL continue to unite for full equality. We WILL take leaps forward in our struggle in ways that this country has not yet seen! And during all this, we must remember what has happened to those who are fighting with us. We must remember that not everyone we deal with will change. We must remember that there is a loud minority who wants to make us victims, and a quiet majority that wants us to be victors. We need to give that quiet majority a voice. We need to drown out the hatred of those who want to hurt us. We MUST remember what has occurred since the beginning of this movement and realize that we have many mountains to climb, but our goal IS reachable and WILL be won!

We must remember what happened in Richmond, CA on December 13th, 2008.

They attacked her because she was gay. Our government provides our community and our love with less rights than our heterosexual allies. This causes a sense of entitlement for those who are ignorant and violent.

They raped her because she was gay. Proposition 8 passed in California stating that same-sex couples do not deserve the same recognition as heterosexual couples. Her partner, in the eyes of the law, does not deserve the same recognition.

They beat her because she was gay. We just spent the past 8 years under a president of who openly stated numerous times that it is a sin to be LGBTQ. When the leader of the free world openly discriminates, what is to stop anyone else?

They left her helpless because she was gay. In 30 states it is still legal to fire someone because they are a member of the LGBTQ community. If your employer can discriminate against you, your government can, and your state voters can, then what is to stop someone from feeling justified by violence?

We are ALL connected. What we say, what we do, and what we vote on DOES affect everyone. When we turn our eyes away from hatred, we allow it to occur. When we remain silent while somebody calls us Faggot, we allow the stereotypes to continue. When we hear a teen year old say “That’s so gay” and don’t speak up, we allow him or her to grow up thinking that it is OK to speak like that about a minority.

Of those arrested, two were teenagers: 15 and 16.

I look forward to a world when I don’t have to say that anyone, did anything, because someone is gay, lesbian, bi, transgendered, or queer.

Please DONATE to Richmond’s Jane Doe and help her and her partner get back on their feet. Her partner needs time off to care for her. We can help. Please learn how you can donate here: