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Join the Impact

Activism Rooted in the Internet

Prop 8 Remains – What’s Next?

Posted by amy On May - 26 - 2009

On November 7th, sometime before noon Pacific time, Willow Witte and I were emailing back and forth about Proposition 8.  What came from those emails was and a blog post that called for national protests across the country in response to Proposition 8.  Now, 6 months later, I have that same lump in my throat and the same feeling of anxiety, mixed with anger, mixed with sadness.  Basically, it’s like getting side-swiped by a car.  But there’s something that makes today far different than those days following the November 4th passage of Proposition 8.  That difference is you.

On November 7th, Willow and I assumed we’d get maybe 4 cities involved in a protest of Prop 8.  We figured that would be a huge accomplishment after just a week of notice.  We assumed that we would have one high stress week and then go back to our local activism and wait with everyone else to see what happens next.  But in that week, EVERYTHING changed.  Within just a few days our servers crashed from the amount of traffic to this site.  By November 10th the national protest became international with 10 other countries signing on.  By November 12th we were discussing how to become a non-profit.  By November 14th we were forming a board.  And by November 15th, we stood in amazement as we realized that Prop 8 awoke a sleeping beast and we were lucky enough to be just one small piece of the extremely loud roar that this beast has continued to chant.

This sleeping beast is grassroots.  This sleeping beast is netroots.  It is flash activism in it’s purest form. This sleeping beast is every single one of you who came out on November 15th.  And every single one of you who has come out time and time again.  Those of you who organized for November 15th and continue to organize across this country.  This sleeping beast is led by activists who have been fighting this fight since Stonewall and before.  It is led by new activists as well; young people who can intuitively harness the tools of their generation and spread the message of equality far and wide in milliseconds.  In this past 6 months, so many new organizations have sprung up, and so many seasoned organizations have lent a helping hand to ensure that we are all one family fighting for the same cause.  In 6 months we have won marriage equality in 4 other states: Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa, and Maine with Domestic Partnership expansion laws passing in states like Washington.  The Matthew Shepard Act passed in the house by a vote of 249 to 171.  We have new rights in our grasps (rights that others in this country have always had without a second thought).  We have an end to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell on the horizon, a stronger ENDA law, and the Matthew Sheppard Act sitting in the Senate.  It is amazing what we have accomplished in 6 short months. And if they think that the movement for equality is going to stop now, then they are in for one gigantic surprise!

On November 15th, we asked everyone to unite as one.  One loud voice across over 320 cities and 11 countries chiming in at the exact same moment in history to declare that OUR RIGHTS WILL NOT BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED!  Now is the time for us to come together and STAY TOGETHER.  We will no longer be pinned down by a national force fighting a local force.  We showed the world that Prop 8 is not California’s problem,  it is the NATION’s problem. It is time to fight inequality on all 50 fronts.  We ALL need to come together and take the conversation of equality to the next level.  It is time everyone in this country learns about the harms caused when all families do not receive equal protections under the law.  We need to infiltrate the masses by going to the areas of our country, our states, and our cities that do not understand us.  We need to educate those we meet about who we are and what our families mean to us.  And most importantly, we must end hate by showing the world that we are fighting for love.  We will not back down until our families receive full equality under the law!

Infiltrate. Educate. End Hate.

But how do we do this?  What is next for us?  Well that is up to you.  We are all united in this struggle.  This struggle has roots far deeper than marriage equality.  We must fight for all of our rights.  We must recognize that our fight is no different than the injustices other minority groups receive and we must join with them in our journey.  We must come together as a family – one large family of people who support each other, protect each other, and fight for each other.  If there is an issue in Idaho, we must all lend our support.  If there is an issue in Manhattan, we must all lend our voices to the roar.  If we can all work together, for the greater good of this movement, then VICTORY IS NEXT FOR US.

What is next for you?  What can you do?  Get in touch with your local LGBTQ organization and pledge a minimum of 5 hours per month to help them.  If EVERYONE who reads this blog volunteers 5 hours per month to this movement then we will have over 1 million hours per month of new volunteers across the nation!  Pledge your time.  Get on the phones and phone bank.  Grab a friend and go door to door to educate your neighbors.  Go into the towns that would vote for a Prop 8 in your state and hold a teach in.  If the past 6 months has shown us anything it’s that just one voice can change everything.  Work with organizations like the Courage Campaign, Marriage Equality USA, Join the Impact, the HRC, the NGLTF, One Struggle One Fight, and on and on.  EVERYONE has something that they need help on.  Grassroots orgs in California already have taken the next steps to repeal Prop 8 through a ballot initiative.  Volunteer your time to help.  In Washington, a group is trying to repeal the latest Domestic Partnership expansion bill through the ballot.  Even if you’re on the other side of the country, there is still something you can do to help.  In government, the Matthew Sheppard Act is sitting in the Senate.  Call your senator and urge them to pass it.  We need to continue all the hard work that so many amazing organizers have been doing over the past 6 months, but we all need YOUR help.  5 hours is all I’m asking.  Find an organization that you love and ask them how you can help.  Stop another Prop 8 before it happens.

My friend Jonathan Bruns is preparing his speech for tonight’s Day of Decision event in Seattle.  He ran by a very small portion of it with me and I asked him if I could steal it for my closing of this blog post.  Simply and eloquently put he said: We must not focus on this defeat, instead, we must now focus on our future victory!

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

Day Of Decision

Posted by admin On March - 17 - 2009 is calling for a national response to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Prop 8.  We cannot predict when this ruling will come down, we can only prepare our cities for a place and time to meet on D-Day (Day of Decision).  JTI has joined as just one of many co-sponsors to Robin Tyler’s  We are lending our resources and are asking any of our members and organizers interested to help out.  The CA Supreme Court will give us only 24 hours notice before they announce their decision.  We need to be prepared to respond, and hope that this is a response of celebration rather than protest.  Moving forward, we all must work together to fight for equality on a national level… we have begun this, but we must harness this, learn from our mistakes, and keep moving forward.  The world is buzzing with the word “equality.”  So many amazing conversations are happening (Check HERE and Checkout as well). is about continuing this momentum.  We must come together as a community and mourn our losses, while never backing down, and celebrate our wins, while knowing that there are more to come.

Here’s the Press Release:

Join the Impact Responds to the Call for Co-Sponsors

NATIONAL – In the near future, the California Supreme Court will announce its decision on whether or not to repeal Proposition 8.  The ruling could come down as early as this week, and as late as June 5th. When this time comes, it will either be a moment of protest or celebration for the LGBTQ community.  To respond to both possible outcomes, grassroots activists Robin Tyler and Andy Thayer are calling for Day of Decision activities across the US. Join the Impact and many other national organizations are adding their support and resources to the national effort.

“We have over 200 amazing organizers across the country who are eager to respond to Proposition 8” says Willow Witte, co-founder and Executive Director of Join the Impact.  The California Supreme Court will give 24 hours notice before reading its decision, but Witte is confident that with proper planning, 24 hours will be enough time for organizers to rally their base.

“I’m hoping that the day is one of celebration in the streets,” says Amy Balliett, co-founder and Communications Director of Join the Impact.  “If it is not, then the California Supreme Court will set an unhealthy precedent in this country; One that allows the majority to vote on the rights of the minority, and take a minority out of the Constitution.”

Along with their organizers, Join the Impact has also lent its virtual organizing platform to the mix by re-creating their November 15th Wetpaint tool for  This tool (, will allow organizers to update their city pages with event information, and will allow all who sign up the chance to be notified of their city’s actions almost immediately.

Robin Tyler and Andy Thayer are seasoned activists when it comes to events like this.  They called for national action by organizing celebrations in 50 cities for the Federal Supreme Court Day of Decision regarding Lawrence v Texas, the decision that struck down sodomy laws across the nation.  Tens of thousands of activists were on the streets, from Alaska to Hawaii to Puerto Rico and all over the mainland.  Robin Tyler has been the main stage producer for 3 marches on Washington and she and her partner, Diane Olson were the first lesbian plaintiffs in the California Supreme Court Marriage Equality case in 2008.  They are also petitioners in the recent California Supreme Court case to overturn Proposition 8.

To get involved in Day of Decision activities, go to and sign up to organize.  To stay informed about a local Day of Decision event in your area, go to and navigate to your state and then city pages to stay informed.  Joining the site will put you on the national mailing list to receive a call to action the day the decision is read.

This Weeks Events

Posted by amy On March - 2 - 2009

There are MANY events going on surrounding the March 5th opening arguments and this video highlights some of the biggest ones.  MANY grassroots orgs are coming together to make this happen.  Our COMMUNITY is comming together to make this happen.  Come to SF if you can on the 4th and 5th.  If you cannot, please light a candle on the 4th and wear white on the 5th to show your support for the 18,000 marriages in limbo, and the many marriages to come in the future.

March 5th – Join Us for History

Posted by amy On February - 25 - 2009

Get Active Today – A Long Delayed Tools of the Week

Posted by amy On February - 24 - 2009

OK it’s official: my Flu is gone. This means that it’s about time I catch everyone up on some amazing things happening all over the nation as we continue moving toward equality. To begin, the conversation of equality has been going on for many many years, but the passage of Proposition 8 has made this conversation surge in ways never seen before. EVERYONE is talking about equal rights these days… and it’s making our opposition louder as well. We need to stay strong, stay loud, and STAY PROUD!

Here are some amazing ways that you can get out there and keep this conversation going, make some changes, and push us another step (or leap) forward on the path to full equal rights:

  1. “PROcott” Pepsi – so there is no official antonym for “boycott”  as such, I give you “procott.”  The American Family Association (the group that brings the nation anti-gay propaganda videos making members of the LGBTQ community out to be in-human), is now calling for a national boycott of Pepsi. They are angered by Pepsi’s pro-LGBTQ stance and outraged by the latest Pepsi Ads.  They have almost 200K people signed up to boycott Pepsi.  So, let’s show Pepsi how much we support them.  Check out this great Facebook Group asking you to BUY PEPSI.  We have millions of people involved with JTI… let’s show the AFA just how easy it is for us to cancel out their numbers!  Once you’ve agreed to Buy Pepsi, call them and thank them for their support (especially since they are getting calls from those against the LGBTQ community right now: 914-253-2000 or  1-800-433-2652).
  2. March Forth on March 4th: March 4th is the “Eve of Justice” and MEUSA is putting together an amazing candlelight vigil across California.  Join in from your home, your city center, or use The Impact to setup an event in your city.
  3. March 5th Wear White: Willow did a great post on this yesterday.  On March 5th, the CA Supreme Court will be hearing the opening arguments for and against Prop 8.  Please wear white (or a white knot) that day to support those fighting for all of us.
  4. March 5th – COME TO SF: That’s right… I know that the economy is in a downward spiral right now, but that also means that plane tickets are SUPER CHEAP.  Join myself, Willow, and thousands of JTI members from around the country outside of the SF Supreme Court to witness this amazing historical event!  Virgin Airlines and Travelocity are selling super cheap tickets to SF right now!  Let’s join the goal of getting 100K people outside of the courthouse on the 5th!
  5. Even if you can’t come to SF, help us share this with EVERYONE!  MEUSA is raising money to get a Jumbotron in front of the SF courthouse so that everyone in attendance can hear the opening arguments.  ANY DONATION HELPS!!!  Please DONATE TODAY!
  6. Ask Your State Rep to Support UAFA: The Uniting American Families Act was reintroduced on February 12th.  Call your state rep and ask that they support the UAFA.
  7. Stay tuned to this site for updates on future events.  If you have an idea for an event and would like the help of JTI, please submit your event here.

March 5- Wear White!

Posted by willow On February - 24 - 2009

As you may have heard, March 5 is the date the California Supreme Court will hear arguments on the validity of Proposition 8. This is a day that begins an historic process which directly affects the rights not just of those who seek a same-sex marriage, but all minority rights. Proposition 8 sets a precedent that allows the majority to vote on the rights of a minority any time there is a court decision. It can affect the rights of any minority that faces discrimination because it TAKES AWAY an existing right from a targeted minority. Prop 8 clearly affects the rights of the LGBTQ community, but it’s implications are far more reaching. Additionally, Prop 8 does not just affect the rights of Californians. All Americans are affected. The conservative right is bringing this fight to us in states throughout the Union. Yesterday in Hawaii 2,000 people stood AGAINST Civil Unions. Florida, Arkansas and Arizona also all lost ballot measures in their states on Nov. 4 to limit the rights of our families. We are under attack, and we MUST fight back.

We can all show our solidarity on March 5 by wearing white. This can be a wedding dress, sailor uniform, feather boa, all white leather, white tee, white knot, whatever you please.

We are calling for a loud voice to show up in San Francisco and be part of hearing the oral arguments. I’ve extended my trip in California. Amy’s flying down from Seattle. People have already purchased tickets from the east coast. Students from campuses all over have been granted funding for transport to be witness to this important piece of the political process. People will be calling off work to be there. Oh yeah, and did I mention there’ll be a JUMBOTRON? (Please help fund the jumbotron! No contribution too small!)

We know this economy is tough, but if you have the means- you should get there. Many airlines have announced drastically reduced rates recently, and this is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of them.

A college run website has emerged with a goal of driving ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND people to San Francisco for March 5. Some people say that number is crazy, I say that number is NECESSARY. There should absolutely be a larger turn-out than we’ve ever seen for this. We know our opposition will be there.

Let’s show them numbers they’ve never dreamed of!

March 5 Wear White at the San Francisco Supreme Court!!

Milk and the Oscars

Posted by amy On February - 23 - 2009

I’ve Been Sick

Posted by amy On February - 19 - 2009

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to take a moment to apologize for not posting anything for awhile.  I have had a horrible flu for the past 2 weeks and am just now getting to the point where I can get back to business.  Soon you will see more posts, updates, and the like.

Here’s some quick updates:

  • Freedom to Marry Day was a HUGE success thanks to the amazing efforts of MEUSA!
  • We gathered another few feet (stacked) of signature pages on the Open Letter to Obama!
  • Willow Witte (the co-founder of JTI) is on a month-long visit to California.  She’s meeting with leaders in the movement, attending some amazing events, and finding great partners for future JTI events!
  • We are still working on what we want to lend our support to in March, which is a key month for the Prop 8 battle (We’ll keep you posted)
  • Finally, there are a few great winners for our “Share Your Ideas” contest in which we asked our members to share their ideas for future events.  We will be contacting the owners of those ideas soon and working with them to make each event a reality!

Thanks so much for your patience and your amazing emails wishing me a quick recovery!!  You guys are amazing!!!!



Posted by amy On February - 5 - 2009

“Fidelity”: Don’t Divorce… from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

The Courage Campaign never ceases to amaze me!  California is filled with some amazing orgs, but when it comes to Prop 8, the Courage Campaign always knows how to take the message of the damage Prop 8 has caused, and deliver it in a way that really hits home for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.  So here is a BIG THANK YOU to the Courage Campaign for putting together this inspirational campaign and taking our movement another step in the right direction!