What do we want? Equality!!
Today was the Rally for Equality on the steps of City Hall. A number of local organizations came together on Saturday to speak on a number of issues facing the LGBT community and to provide resources for those who want to become more engaged in the movement. The topics ranged from Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to ENDA to Hate Crimes and Health Issues to Marriage Equality and Adoption.
The event started with a moving a cappella version of ‘We Shall Overcome’ sung by the Big Easy MCC Praise Team.
I spoke briefly about why we there:
We are gathered here today because lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans deserve the same rights as all other Americans. This is not a rally for special rights. This is a rally for equal rights.
It is fitting that we come to City Hall for this rally. The New Orleans City Council is only legislative body in the state of Louisiana that has recognized our full equal rights. So, we are here, where equality has been recognized, to speak against the second-class treatment of the LGBT community throughout our state and country.
We are also here to involve all of you. There are resource tables and representative here from many organizations. Leave today having made a commitment of your time and energy and, heck, even your money to the fight to make liberty and justice for all more than just words. Together, we can make equality a reality for us all.
I then went on to introduce each of the speakers as they came to the microphone:
- Clinton Crawshaw, Pastor of the Big Easy Metropolitan Community Church
- Debbie Guidry & Lester Perryman with the New Orleans Steering Committee of the Human Rights Campaign
- Marjorie Esman, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Louisiana American Civil Liberties Union Louisiana
- Julie Thompson, President of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gay New Orleans and the Southern Regional Director of PFLAG National
- Joey Collins with PFLAG-Acadiana and the University of Lafayette Gay Lesbian and Straight Society
- Tela La’Raine Clark, CEO and Founder of Project C.U.R.E.T
- Mark Johnson, Executive Director of Brotherhood, Inc
- Charlotte Klasson, President of New Orleans National Organization for Women , State Coordinator of LA NOW and member of the Board of the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association
- Kenny Tucker, Chair of the Forum For Equality Louisiana
Also speaking were New Orleans City Council President, Arnie Fielkow, and Councilmember Cynthia Willard-Lewis.
The Praise Team came back up to sing “I’m Coming Out” to end the event on a high note.