Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Join the Impact

Activism Rooted in the Internet

Beyond California

Posted by amy On March - 9 - 2009

Prop 8 is a huge fight that we have going on when it comes to equal rights for members of the LGBTQ community.  When JTI began, we called for everyone around the nation (and the world) to unite as one voice for equal rights.  We explained that Proposition 8 is much more than California’s problem.  If Prop 8 is not repealed, it sets a precedent that the majority can vote on the rights of the minority.  As argued on Thursday, it states that people who are NOT affected by a lack of rights, can choose to keep those rights from a suspect class.  This is appalling.  California is a HUGE battleground right now which we will all continue to be a part of.  Beyond California, there are many many issues at stake that we all need to support and take actions on.

  • Only 13 states have laws protecting LGBTQ citizens from employment discrimination based on sexual or gender identity.
  • There are 7 more states that protect LGB citizens, but do not protect Transgendered citizens from employment discrimination.  Soon we will all come together to support a federal ENDA law that secures equal protections in the work space.
  • Throughout the country, families are at risk of deportation because we can not legally sponsor our partner to become a citizen of the US.  The Uniting American Families Act has been reintroduced to Congress, and we encourage you to call your representative and ask that they support this act and support our families!
  • In the state of Washington (my current home) a Domestic Partnership Expansion Bill has been introduced and will hit the Senate and House this week.  This bill will give Washington LGBTQ citizens protections under the law at a state-wide level that are equal to the state-wide protections of marriage. Those who oppose same-sex civil protections are stating that this law (which again uses the semantics of Domestic Partnership) is seeking to redefine the word marriage, even though we are not.  They are taking action and we need to respond by educating our representatives on the realities of this bill and how it will help us.
  • In the state of Hawaii, another battle surges as our LGBTQ brothers and sisters fight for Civil Unions.  The opposition has come out in full force and Hawaii needs you!  If you are from Hawaii or know someone who is, please contact your representative (or ask your friend to) and ask that they support HB444.
  • HB2234 is going to the House floor for a vote in Illinois.  This same-sex civil union bill does not grant all of the state-wide rights of marriage, but it does grant some very important protections.  Please take action by contacting your representative (if in Illinois) and asking that they support this bill.
  • Here’s a great state by state breakdown on LGBTQ adoption rights.  Clearly we have work to do.  With an average of 500,000 children needing families every year, only 50,000 get adopted.  In a country where so many go without family, why do we have to fight to provide safety, shelter, and parental care?
  • Despite the evolutions in the field of science, we still live in a country where gay and bisexual men cannot donate blood.  This ban on blood donations began with the AIDS crisis and a fear that blood donations would be tainted with the disease.  According to the CDC, the incidence of AIDS is lowering in gay and bisexual men and raising in the heterosexual community.  Yet this ban does not extend to members of the heterosexual community.  A JTI member and amazing organizer for many great grassroots groups has worked hard on this front with her program called the Right to Save.  She is calling for national actions on May 16th 2009 to send a message to the FDA that this policy is discriminatory.
  • These are just a FEW of the many battles brewing in this EQUAL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.  Add more in the comments and let’s organize together to work toward winning these battles and our equal protections under the law.

A JTI Weakness

Posted by amy On March - 7 - 2009

This afternoon, I was running errands looking for the proper attire for a black tie event.  I’m going to an LGBTQ gala tonight and it’s formal, but the only dress I have is my wedding dress and my fashion sense is slim to none.  Anywho, I digress.  As I was trying to find a black tie (because I just can’t bring myself to wear a dress), I got a text message saying “Why didn’t I know that there was a JTI event today???”  My response was “What JTI event today?  There wasn’t one.”  The next response “The fliers said it was a JTI event.”

Herein lies a weakness of JTI.  We organize in the virtual space for the most part.  We talk online, text message, email, and call each other.  Willow and I barely see each other in person.  In fact, in San Francisco on Thursday, we saw each other for only the 2nd time since the launch of JTI.  Organizing online can sometimes lead to mixed messages.  JTI-national did not have any event today, but some of our organizers may have chosen to have an event in their city for something local.  JTI seeks to empower our members to stand up for what they believe in locally and nationally.  Because of this, sometimes there will be events that a member holds that Willow and I or JTI-national are not a part of.  Most of our organizers follow the protocol of checking in before listing JTI as endorsing an event that is not officially a JTI event.

So, this text message led me to thinking about this weakness, and wondering how we can fix it.  We do have an Official JTI Events page that speaks to events or protests endorsed, hosted, or sponsored by JTI.  We have an Other Events page, which speaks to events that we want to help get the word out on, but they are not run by, hosted by, endorsed, or sponsored by us.  Still, there seems to be confusion out there, and we’re curious about how you think we should help to clear up this confusion?  We do not want to become an organization that makes all the decisions of what to do, without listening to the needs of our members. This is why we’ve used The IMPACT the way we do and why we do not treat our organizers like employees… these organizers are what make us a success, we do not make them a success, and we want our actions to show our appreciation for them.  We will NEVER tell our organizers that they cannot have an event without our approval.  So how do we clear up the confusion when an event is held in our name, that isn’t actually one JTI is behind or even aware of?

We want to continue learning from you and working with and for you.  Willow is at Camp Courage today.  She is learning how to help provide more support for our organizers so that we can better serve you.  That is one step, but we know there are more.  So what do you think?

Heroes of Love

Posted by amy On February - 13 - 2009

Share Valentine’s Day Love
with Champions of Marriage Equality

L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s ‘Heroes of Love’ Campaign
Thanks Courageous Straight Allies

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 2, 2009— As a kid, Valentine’s Day often meant slipping cheesy heart-shaped cards into the construction paper-decorated shoeboxes of classmates (though not necessarily the classmates you really liked). For adults, Valentine’s Day is about celebrating relationships—and the Heroes of Love campaign is about showing love for those who have supported the relationships of same-sex couples by being fierce advocates for marriage equality.

Visitors to www.LoveHeroes.com can sign oversized valentine cards that the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center will deliver to 15 courageous straight allies, Heroes of Love, who have stood with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in our fight for marriage equality. The goal is to show them how many thousands of people appreciate their support.

Because there are many more than 15 heroic supporters of marriage equality, visitors to the site can also personalize and send e-valentines, designed by celebrity supporters of the Center, to any hero of love they choose.

Straight Ally Heroes

“Our movement has made enormous progress regarding the freedom to marry, thanks not only to courageous LGBT people but to the dedication of many straight allies,” says Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “We could not have come as far as we have without them, and they deserve our kudos and respect. With continued support from Heroes of Love like those we honor this Valentine’s Day, we will forge ahead, confident that Proposition 8 was only a temporary setback in our quest for justice and that full and complete equality will one day be ours.”

The 15 straight allies being honored are:

· Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP

· Jerry Brown, California Attorney General

· Judy Chu, chair of the California Board of Equalization

· Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the L.A. County Federation of Labor

· Diane Feinstein, U.S. Senator

· Hon. Ron George, Chief Justice of the California State Supreme Court

· Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America

· Alice Huffman, President of the California NAACP

· Bill Maher, host of Real Time with Bill Maher

· Gavin Newsom, mayor of San Francisco

· Jack O’Connell, California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction

· Brad Pitt, A-list actor

· Jerry Sanders, mayor of San Diego

· Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles

· Karin Wang, Vice President of Programs for the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

Your Personal Hero

Use this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to thank a boss who let you volunteer on Election Day, a parent who donated to the No on 8 campaign or friends who joined you for phone banking—recognize them all with free Valentine’s Day e-cards, including cards designed by Queer As Folk stars Michelle Clunie and Peter Paige and Girls Will Be Girls star and executive producer Jack Plotnick.

Canvass Campaign

The Center’s Vote for Equality Project, which has been educating voters about marriage equality for more than 4 years, is organizing a Valentine’s Day canvass to help change the minds and hearts of voters in parts of Los Angeles where Prop. 8 passed by a narrow margin. The canvass will begin with a full training, and lunch will be provided.

To volunteer or to learn about future canvassing opportunities, visit www.lagaycenter.org/voteforequality.

-30-

About the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center
Since 1971 the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center has been building the health, advocating for the rights and enriching the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Our wide array of services and programs includes: free HIV/AIDS care and medications for those most in need; housing, food, clothing and support for homeless LGBT youth; low-cost counseling and addiction-recovery services; essential services for LGBT-parented families and seniors; legal services; health education and HIV prevention programs; transgender services; cultural arts and much more. Visit us on the Web at: www.lagaycenter.org.

Freedom to Marry Week

Posted by amy On February - 6 - 2009

National Freedom to Marry Week is around the corner, and orgs all over the country have some amazing events planned! Check out our Other Events page to see what’s going on.

Join the Impact and Marriage Equality USA have teamed up to make February 12th a huge day! Every year, MEUSA has marriage counter actions on National Freedom to Marry Day. This year, they asked JTI if we could join to cover more ground and send the message of LGBTQ Equality to our local community and representatives. JTI and MEUSA organizers have teamed up around the country and have spent the past few weeks working extremely hard on their Feb 12 IMPACT!

Here’s the official rundown:
On National Freedom to Marry Day, Thursday, February 12, 2009, at local marriage counters in cities all over the country, same-sex couples will request marriage licenses at their local County Clerk’s Offices to raise awareness of the harms and impact that the inability to marry causes on their families. This national event is hosted yearly by Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) and this year they have asked Join the Impact for our help to make this their largest Marriage Counter Action yet! .:more:.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Please help us lend support to Marriage Equality USA as we draw national attention to the many committed couples who are not afforded the right to marry. We ask that JTI organizers reach out to their local chapters and member organizations and offer support in making this event a success!

If You Want to Get Involved, Please Find a Marriage Counter Action in YOUR CITY

>> Click here to a complete list of MEUSA locations (by states) and other critical information!
>> Click here to find JTI cities that will be hosting events where MEUSA is not

Marriage Equality USA chapters and member organizations are eager to hear from you and get your help. In those cities where an MEUSA does not exist, we ask that JTI organizers step up (once again) and help us bring this event to their city for the first time. MEUSA has provided us with a national toolkit which will help us ensure that this event gets the attention it deserves as we join forces for one large impact!


GET THE TOOLKIT

Tell-Three.org

Posted by amy On February - 3 - 2009

Some of you may have heard rumblings about JTI partnering with some AMAZING orgs like the ACLU to roll out a new initiative… well, here’s confirmation in Press Release form:

Join the Impact has partnered with other national LGBT groups to develop a web based public education campaign, www.tell-three.org, to encourage LGBT people and their supporters to have three conversations with friends and family to help build support for LGBT equality.

“The passage of Prop 8 in California has motivated LGBT people and their supporters like never before,” said Amy Balliett of Join the Impact, a grass roots organization with more than 15,000 regular members and millions of world-wide participants, that has helped to organize massive demonstrations throughout the U.S. since the November elections. “Now that we’ve had some time to get over our anger and sadness, we’re ready to act. And the single most important thing we can do to guarantee we don’t find ourselves on the losing side of another political campaign is to have conversations with our friends and family about what it means to be LGBT.”

Other organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union; Equality California; the Equality Federation; Freedom to Marry; The National Lesbian and Gay Task Force; the National Center for Lesbian Rights; and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, will be rolling out their own versions of the campaign on their websites. The goal of the campaign is for all LGBT groups and individuals to seize upon the momentum that has been generated since the passage of Proposition 8 in November and work together to tell their stories to build support for all of the issues affecting LGBT people.

“Harvey Milk was right on the money to encourage everyone to come out to their friends and family, but we know now that coming out alone isn’t enough,” said Matt Coles, Director of the ACLU LGBT Project. “To persuade others to support LGBT equality we need to have personal conversations with people that explain what its like to be LGBT. We need to talk about our relationships, the struggles we face as LGBT people, the ways our lives are the same and the ways they are different.”

Visitors to www.tell-three.org can find additional information on who to talk with and how to start these important conversations. There are also resources for those who want to learn more about the issues affecting LGBT people. But, as the website notes, the most important thing is for people to have personal conversations. The website encourages LGBT people to talk about their relationships, about growing up, and about how being LGBT has made them feel different from others in some respects and the same in others. Straight allies are encouraged to talk about their relationships with LGBT people and to speak up when they hear others make homophobic or transphobic comments.

The groups are encouraging everyone – members of national and local LGBT groups, individuals and couples supportive moms and dads, and allied friends and colleagues – to join the campaign and get people talking. The site makes it easy to spread the word to others to send an e-mail to their friends. Eventually there will also be opportunities for people to share their experiences on the site.

The campaign is also calling on bloggers and videographers to help spread the word by sharing their experiences of having these important conversations. “After Prop 8 passed, we spoke through demonstrations and we made ourselves heard. We need to take our voices beyond the streets into every home in America, and to do that we need to use every avenue available to sparking conversations,” added Balliett.

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?

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?

We Need Your Voice

Posted by amy On January - 14 - 2009

We need your help! When Join the Impact began, it was simply a blog post asking people to come together on a national level to join in one united voice against Proposition 8. In that first week, a great deal of things were asked of Join the Impact, one of which was a 3 month calendar. We put together the calendar as fast as we could and were not aware of the months of learning that laid before us. Now, Join the Impact is a little over 2 months old and we want to make the most out of it. From now on, we need YOU to help us plan what to do next. Light Up the Night was a success because one of our members suggested the idea. Since then, we have had many suggestions come our way and we want our community to have a say in what happens next, what our goals should be, and how we want to accomplish these goals.

Here’s what you can do to help:

  1. Offer up an idea by creating a thread on our event ideas page
  2. People will reply to that specific idea thread to help lend their support and constructive criticism.
  3. Every idea that reaches 100 votes (in the “was this comment valuable to you” tool of the thread), will get it’s own page and members will be asked to create a task force to help make that idea a reality.
  4. We will work with you to help your idea take flight and truly ensure that Join the Impact is your platform for YOUR voice!

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!

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:http://www.facebook.com/n/?event.php&eid=40712604850