Thougts: Open Letter

RE:  F.A.I.R. Meeting Clarification

Dear Fellow Organizers,

I want to echo Jonathan Weber's sentiments about last night's meeting: The night was a powerful and empowering event that illustrates quite clearly that the LGBT rights movement is alive and well and is growing exponentially with the sadness and anger we all feel in having lost our right to marry in the state of California.

It is clear that old-guard activists, LGBT and allied youth, African-Americans, Asians, Latinos, the labor movement, suit-wearing conservatives and the tee-shirt and jeans set are all outraged by the elimination of our fundamental right to marry. We have coalesced like never before and our movement has more traction than we could have ever hoped to have.

The protest/rally tomorrow is but one example of our creativity, moxie and power. As we stand tomorrow with the constituency of the groups that comprised last night's meeting, along with labor leaders and their constituencies, organizers from communities of color and their constituencies and, finally, LGBT and allied folks that have never before attended a political event of this nature, we will be heard.  Los Angeles, the State of California and indeed all of America will know that we will not stand idly by as our rights get squashed. We will not be silent!

If I may speak for last night's participants, we offer our unwavering support for tomorrow's event.

That being said, and as a member of what seemed to become a larger ad hoc organizing committee, I propose that FAIR, along with all organizations table the discussion about the use and distribution of data collected at the protest/rally.

There was quite a bit of dissension about this issue and many of us feel that there needs to be further discussion in order to make the use of the collected information as fair as possible. Our movement has a long history of making such decisions in a most democratic manner and due to the emergency nature of the organizing effort for tomorrow's event, the spirit of democracy that normally guides our decision-making process was not employed with regard to the collection of data -- which we all realize will be a tremendous organizing tool for the movement as a whole.

Again, the objection is that this information should not be "awarded" only to groups that provide volunteers and then distributed only to those groups by a mathematic computation.  Rather, since this protest/rally is part of this new, growing movement (FAIR leadership and other organization's representatives agreed on this point), information gathered should be shared with the movement -- with all groups present last night with a democratically agreed-upon decision about how those names and email address will be used.

As I said last night, our work begins in earnest the moment tomorrow's protest ends and we MUST immediately be ready by working together by starting together on the ground floor. Important decisions regarding next steps MUST be tabled until after the action tomorrow so that we all have the opportunity to weigh in on these important matters. ACT UP is concerned with messaging going forward and is concerned with how we reach protest attendees.  We cannot stress this enough. 

We hope that all the organization involved will join with us in contributing 200 percent of our energy and do expect that we will all continue this conversation when we are not 'under the gun' as we are today.

Also, we are planning a huge organizing meeting (some of us are calling it a town meeting) during which we can discuss these issues and other important organizing issues with an even larger swath of our community, allied straight groups and organizations and groups representing people of color.

Also, please be sure to visit www.unitethefight.org for up-to-the-minute information and news of upcoming actions and events. You may also visit alankleincommunications.com/noon8 for ACT UP videos and news coverage of ACT UP demonstrations and our Zap-Action Checklist, our "So You Want to Plan an Action," and our 'Marshal Training Tips' handbook.

Thanks again for a rousing meeting last night and we will see you all tomorrow.

Best,

Alan Klein
ACT UP / Queer Nation / former national communications director, GLAAD


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