Nationalizing Prop 8: Chicago Join The Impact Protest

Also at Calitics

Today, all over the country, Join The Impact organized rallies to protest the passage of Proposition 8. We in California saw Prop 8 awaken a sleeping giant as thousands of people gathered, seemingly spontaneously, all over the state in the wake of the news that it had passed. It was an amazing sight but little did we know that that truly was just the beginning. A national people-powered marriage equality movement seems to have sprouted up virtually overnight.

As I'm in here in the Chicago suburbs for a friend's wedding (no, I wasn't invited by Barack...) I went into town to check out the Chicago Join The Impact protest at Federal Plaza. The Facebook event had more than 3200 RSVPs and there had to be twice that many people there today. At one point, I heard an announcement that the police were extending the area where people were permitted to stand; this place was bursting at the seams.

It was an extremely moving event because it was clear that I was witnessing nothing less than the birth of our generation's civil rights movement. Sign after sign said it all: "gay rights are civil rights." As a Californian too, it was fascinating to see so many people in Illinois rise up against what my fellow citizens did on November 4th. Someone was even holding a No on Prop 8 sign re-jiggered to read "Vote No On Pro-H8." There was a distinct "We are all Californians now" vibe to the whole thing but I think also that this national movement might not have sprung up if it had been any other state. People think of California not only as a bastion of liberalism but also as a bellwether for the rest of the country. They see gay marriage go down in California, for many, it is a sign that it could mean the end of gay marriage everywhere else, before it's even begun.

The passion in the voices of the speakers was moving as well. One of the organizers of the event stood up and expressed great frustration with Illinois Democrats at not having passed a marriage equality bill, not even a civil unions bill. "There is no state bluer than Illinois! There is no excuse!" I expect we'll see pressure all over the country for state legislatures to pass marriage equality legislation and if we don't, we should. He also acknowledged the importance that this movement not end today, which is a really important point. "We're not just blowing off steam here today, as good as that feels. This needs to continue!" In Chicago, the next action will be next Saturday outside the Century Theatre in Evanston, IL to protest the fact that Cinemark CEO Alan Stock donated $10,000 to Prop 8. Considering the intensity on display at the protest today, I suspect Stock is going to deeply regret that donation.

One man stood up and confessed that despite being a gay man, he wasn't really on board with gay marriage until recently. What did it for him: Keith Olbermann's special comment the other night. Another activist read from a well-written script and at a certain point was like "OK, I have to put this down. It's a beautiful speech but I have to speak to you from my heart" and he went on to speak personally and passionately about his refusal to allow his country to treat him as a second class citizen. "Not anymore! Not anymore!"

All over downtown Chicago there were banners on lampposts congratulating "Chicago's own Barack Obama" and it seemed rather appropriate that this protest should be surrounded by these banners. As Barack has said throughout his campaign for the presidency, "this is not about me, this is about you...change can only come if you demand it...change doesn't come from the top down, it comes from the bottom up." President-elect Obama may not be in favor of marriage equality as a policy, but the spirit of our first community organizer president was there at Federal Plaza today.

This has only just begun...

(more pics over the jump)

Tags: join the impact, Proposition 8 (all tags)

Comments

13 Comments

Re: Nationalizing Prop 8

Anyone know how to get a list of people and companies that donated to Prop 8?  I know some ppl won't agree with this but I think we should put our wallets where our mouths are.  The founder of ManHunt, basically a gay social site (that may run a little more adult than most) for those who aren't familiar, was asked to resign when it was found out he donated to McCain.  I think we should do the same across all industries for Prop 8.  Write Cinemak telling them to do the same as well as any other official in a major corporation that donated to Prop 8.  If they refuse then I personally will try not to give them my money as much as possible (I'm not a big fan of official boycotts but some are, I just try not to give money to ppl I know don't support my interests).  Just a thought, but if anyone does know how to get that list I'd love to know.

by goodleh 2008-11-15 01:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Nationalizing Prop 8

That's a good idea.  That actually seems to me like the absolute least people can do.

Boycotts can be incredibly effective.

by Jess81 2008-11-15 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Nationalizing Prop 8

http://www.californiansagainsthate.com/

the above site has that information.

by dasmeer 2008-11-15 02:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Nationalizing Prop 8

a) Where we can find estimates of overall turnout across the country?

b) What's the next step?

by bruh3 2008-11-15 02:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Nationalizing Prop 8: ....

between 10 and 15 thousand the first estimate just here in San Diego.. it was AWESOME.

by el mito 2008-11-15 02:31PM | 0 recs
The Milwaukee gathering today was

rather small and disapointing; perhaps a couple hundred.  And the speakers only had what looked like a toy megaphone; since they were surrounded on all sides, they kept turning to speak to everyone, but I could only hear them when they turned in my direction and people kept yelling "speak louder".

Hopefully future ones will work better.

by aggieric 2008-11-15 04:52PM | 0 recs
Re: The Milwaukee gathering today was

did they gather email addresses etc to build on it?

by bruh3 2008-11-15 05:06PM | 0 recs
Re: The Milwaukee gathering today was

Sort of.  They passed around a petition asking the WI legislature to initiate a repeal of the WI marriage amendment, which passed two years ago.

But i imagine lack of names and emails was not the cause of a small gathering; one of the speakers here was the executive director of the "Center Advocates" - the Milw LGBT community center. Center Advocates was one of the two engines in the fight against the amendment, and I know they still have an extensive list left over from that.

There was a rally in Madison too, where Fair Wisconsin, the other group central to the WI amendment battle is located; I haven't heard yet how large that gathering was.

by aggieric 2008-11-16 05:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Nationalizing Prop 8

estimates up to 25k in San Diego. :D

by el mito 2008-11-15 05:15PM | 0 recs
by Michael Bersin 2008-11-15 05:35PM | 0 recs
NAACP and other civil rights groups

NAACP and other civil rights groups have come out in favor of S. Ct. overturning Prop 8 due, in part due the fact that the proposition, if allowed to stand would have broader implications for other minority groups in the state of California:

http://equaljusticesociety.org/prop8/

by bruh3 2008-11-15 06:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Nationalizing Prop 8: Chicago Join The Impact

it would also be well worthwhile to take this opportunity to highlight what a bigoted, hateful, authoritarian, intolerant entity organized religion is and that it has no place whatsoever in politics in any shape or form. I'm all for starting Proposition Get Out of Politics or Else to ban political activism by organized religions or they else they immediately and automatically lose their tax exempt status.

by gak 2008-11-16 03:33AM | 0 recs
Wow

Ok

by wellinformed 2008-11-16 10:02AM | 0 recs

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