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An estimated 500 people (many of them high school youth) participated in a passionate protest organized by Latinos for Equality Alliance of East Los Angeles reacting to this morning’s announcement of the California Supreme Court’s decision to allow Proposition 8 (the gay marriage equality referendum) to stand as law. Eight LGBTQ activists, taking their fight for Same-Sex Marriage Equality to a new tactical level, entered the County Recorder Marriage License office to request marriage licenses and, when they were denied, they blocked heterosexual applicants from obtaining licenses and shut down the building refusing to leave.
LGBTQ Protestors Take Up Civil Disobedience and Risk Arrest
Los Angeles, California, May 26, 2009 –An estimated 500 people (many of them high school youth) participated in a passionate protest organized by Latinos for Equality Alliance of East Los Angeles reacting to this morning’s announcement of the California Supreme Court’s decision to allow Proposition 8 (the gay marriage equality referendum) to stand as law.
Eight LGBTQ activists, taking their fight for Same-Sex Marriage Equality to a new tactical level, entered the County Recorder Marriage License office to request marriage licenses and, when they were denied, they blocked heterosexual applicants from obtaining licenses and shut down the building refusing to leave.
Using non-violent resistance tactics of civil obedience the LGBTQ community has not used in recent years, Jeanne Cordova and her partner Lynn Harris Ballen, Susan Forrest and her partner Talia Bettcher, as well as activists Professor Jacob Hale and Tony Espinosa were prepared to be arrested.
These LGBTQ demonstrators (all members of the “Marry Us Or Jail Us” Action Alliance (MUJU) occupied the building for three hours. They blocked the office from issuing marriage licenses to heterosexual couples.
Having made their point, they pledged their commitment to Same-Sex Marriage Equality and to civil disobedience.
Lynn Harris Ballen, said, “We’ve faced numerous discriminations as a couple. When Jeanne had colon cancer last year, I had to fight with hospital personnel to be treated as next of kin. We’ve been together for twenty years and simply want the same rights and protections as any other committed couple in California.”
Hours after the California Supreme Court issued its ruling to uphold Prop 8, a couple hundred dedicated activists took to the streets of East Los Angeles — a neighborhood most polls suggest was influential in helping Prop 8 pass at the polls last November. With moving speeches by 1st Lt. Dan Choi, the Iraq war vet and Arab translator who was booted from service under “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, the objective was clear — change the voter’s minds by 2010.
With moving speeches by 1st Lt. Dan Choi, the Iraq war vet and Arab translator who was booted from service under “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, the objective was clear — change the voter’s minds by 2010.
THE MOOD was angry and defiant at protests throughout California and across the country May 26 after the state Supreme Court announced its decision to uphold the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage. In Los Angeles, where some 15,000 people took to the streets, chants of “Gay, straight, Black, white–same struggle, same fight!” and “No justice, no peace–equal rights now!” rang out into the early morning hours. Protesters held a rainbow flag with the words “These Colors Don’t Run, They Fight” written on it.
Elizabeth Schulte rounds up reports from around the country on demonstrations to protest the California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a gay marriage ban.
May 27, 2009
2011 Leader Watch: Ari Gutierrez and Eddie Martinez Reflect
Our 2011 Leaders to Watch were Tammy Bang Luu of Bus Riders Union/Labor Community Strategy Center (LCSC) Ari Gutierrez and Eddie Martinez of Latino Equality Alliance, Gloria Walton of Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), Isella Ramirez of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice and Xiomara Corpeño of Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).
Ari and Eddie sent us reflections on highlights of their year as co-chairs of Latino Equality Alliance.
“As a co-founders of the Latino Equality Alliance (LEA), our experience as a designated “Leaders to Watch” by The Liberty Hill Foundation has been a great opportunity to provide a greater voice for the Latina/o LGBT community. At first, the recognition and focus on us personally for the work we do on behalf of our community was a surprise and a slight distraction since we had been comfortable behind-the-scenes leaders. But at LEA’s Leadership Summit in January 2011, feedback from our board members was positive and they noted that we were “becoming celebrities” for the cause. Of course, that is not our style but we appreciated the encouragement and recommitted to our role as messengers for our Latina/o LGBT community.
This recognition by Liberty Hill has proven to be a stepping stone to developing not only a greater voice and visibility for our organization and the community work we do, but also has challenged us to better define and articulate our organizational message and our presentation style. The added public speaking coaching we received through Liberty Hill was helpful in helping us burnish our skills so that we would articulate the most important messages and present them in the most compelling ways. Gratefully, during our year as “Leaders to Watch” we were able to maximize our turn in the spotlight on several occasions.
Early in 2011, The Latino Equality Alliance was voted Organization of the Year by the Stonewall Democrats. In light of LEA’s mission to increase support for Latino LGBT people and issues among Latino and LGBT communities, this was an important recognition because it provided new context for our work and we were able to reach an influential LGBT audience – a clear “win” in promoting our message for racial equality. As leaders, we know the work is accomplished only with the support of our fellow Board members, stakeholders and community so we were pleased, in a dramatic moment during our acceptance speech, to acknowledge the high number of Latina/o LGBT leaders that were in the audience.
For National Spirit Day, a day when we remember the lives lost to LGBT bullying, LEA hosted and Eddie led a community vigil at Bell High School that acknowledged our shared struggles and remembered everyone that has been a victim of bullying. We were proud to engage the more than 250 young people who participated in the event. Teens, parents and community members spoke about their struggles with bullying and their gratitude for the chance to experience community support.
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