Leading from the Left

Monday, November 10, 2008

Five Angry Nights

Protests continue in California, five straight days and nights. After the passage of Proposition 8--which takes away rights from California's gays--gay Californians and their supporters protested in front of Morman and fundamentalist Christian churces, on the streets of major California cities, at the state capitol, and at city halls.

Even Republican Governor Arnold Swartzenegger has weighed in on the side of equality and justice.

Ah-nold is right. Don't give up. Be persistent, harness the anger, work harder next time, and remember--always remember--that movements for equality take a long time. Revolutions are never won or lost in one battle. Our fundamental human rights will be secured by convincing--one by one, personal conversation by personal conversation--our friends, family and co-workers that justice is in order.

On a side note: alot has been written about the irony that African-American Californians voted to restrict the rights of gays in fairly large numbers. Some have pointed out the irony of black voters in CA voting to elect a president from a mixed marriage, whose parents could not have legally wed in much of the US in the early 1960's, at the same they voted in large numbers (roughly 70%) to restrict the rights of gay Californians to marry.

While I agree that it's disappointing that one minority group voted to restrict the rights of another, it's not fair to lay the blame at the feet of just one group of people.

However, it is fair to note that we have much more work to do to educate Americans of all backgrounds about equality and justice. In my humble opinion, one of the things that needs to happen is that LGBT African-Americans need to take a lead role in initiating a conversation in the AA community. Frankly, white LGBT political and cultural leaders aren't the right people to carry the message. Barney Frank and Ellen just aren't the right folks to open that door. It's time African-American gay leaders step up; folks like Donna Brazile, Queen Latifah, Wanda Sykes, and Tyler Perry.