Father Tony

Five Bilerico-Florida Voices on the Merits of a March on Washington

Filed By Father Tony | June 19, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: March on Washington, post-stonewall gay activism

Have you read the venerable Cleve Jones' detailed response to the ten reasons listed by Bilerico's Bil Browning for not having a march on Washington? Fascinating stuff, and a core gay disagreement that clarifies so much about the status and nature of the LGBT community of the moment.

The point and counterpoint of Cleve Jones and Bil Browning tell you exactly where we are after forty years of post-Stonewall gay activism.

Here are the opinions of five of your Florida-Bilerico contributors.


First up is Bilerico newbie Lorna Bracewell.

My work as both a songwriter and an activist have taught me that it's much easier to criticize than it is to create. At this moment in the movement for LGBT civil rights, action is crucial. We need to dramatize for the American public and our elected officials the injustice we experience everyday. A march on Washington seems a particularly compelling way to do that. I'm all for it.

Next, this is what our newest newbie Jeff Adair has to say.

There may or may not be better ways of planning a march on Washington, but not unlike the public's reaction to the Stonewall riots or the spontaneous demonstrations after the Harvey Milk verdict, a quick, newsworthy response while this issue is fiercely in people's minds can stimulate interest far from Washington or California. A visible response would be appropriate and almost expected. It sounds like Cleve Jones' plan for the march is, at minimum, reasonable and quite possibly very effective. It would be a shame to lose any potential momentum as a result of inaction due to concerns about under-planning.

Waymon Hudson who knows a thing or two about community organizing says this:

I'm torn when it comes to an LGBT Rights March on Washington. Resources are tight, people are struggling, and travel to the Capitol would be difficult and expensive. On the other hand, as a take-to-the-streets kind of activist, I understand the feelings of anger, disappointment, and impatience with the lack of leadership from the Obama Administration and the Democrats in power. A show of solidarity and power could be effective, if enough people show up and make their outrage heard.

So where does this leave me? Looking for more information and seeing if this is something that can happen. I want to be there, but time and money will tell if it possible.

Jesse Monteagudo has a personal connection to this issue:

I first met Cleve Jones in 1980, when he was the Grand Marshall of Miami's Pride March, and I have long admired his work as a gay activist and creator of the AIDS Quilt. I attended Marches on Washington in 1979, 1987 and 1993; where I met lots of people and had a great time. Unfortunately, Marches on Washington do not accomplish much, other than allow us to network, express ourselves and, of course, party hearty. We have a lot of work cut out for us, but it is mostly on the state and local levels. Though we must continue to keep the Obama Administration's collective feet to the fire, the current political and economic climates are not right for a nationwide protest.

My own opinion?

I think that if we go to Washington, we should do so as an aggressive, loud and angry group of disenfranchised queers who have lost patience with phony promises from phony presidents. Meanwhile we ought to become highly disruptive on the local level. Not allowed to taste the apples? Upset the cart.

What do you think?


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