Yesterday, at 4pm, Join The Impact Chicago and GetEqual targeted Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois with a flashmob, calling on him to demand that Speaker Pelosi, whom he supported for her position, move a vote on ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Who is Rep. Lipinski, and why target him?
Representative Lipinski, a Democrat in a Democratic district, voted NO on ENDA in 2007, NO on health care reform and NO on Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal.
He did vote yes on the hate crimes bill, so credit where credit is due.
Now I know the tired old arguments that this isn't effective, and that Rep. Lipinski was probably having a party in his office with various conservative lobbyists and religious figures while this action took place. I'm sure some of you will point to the pictures and say "but there's only nine people in the photo!" This is how movements start. Small, but when people have had enough, they join. But there has to be a nucleus. Here it is.
There are many to complain, and few to act. Such is the nature of activism. Most of us will sit in the safety of our armchairs and shake our heads at people like Dan Lipinski, and a few brave and zealous souls will stand up and be counted. Some will say that nothing can change the world, and that the forces arrayed against us are impossible to defeat. But never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead, the famous sociologist, said that, and it was certainly true of her work. If you wish to cruelly taunt and heckle Margaret Mead, you may do so in the comments below.
Pictures and GetEqual press release follow after the jump.
Here's the press release from GetEqual:
FLASH MOB: GetEQUAL and Join the Impact Chicago Target IL Rep. Daniel Lipinski to Educate and Push for Action on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)
Local Activists Call On Their Representative in Congress to Demand Vote Promised by Speaker Pelosi
Chicago, IL - GetEQUAL, a direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization and Join the Impact Chicago (JTIC), a Chicago based LGBT equality group, held a flash mob this afternoon targeting Rep. Daniel Lipinski.
The flash mob called on Rep. Lipinski to show leadership and demand that Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi - who he supported for that position - fulfill her promise to hold a House vote on ENDA this year. The non-violent, civil disobedient action was carried out at 4pm (CST) this afternoon at Rep. Lipinski's congressional district office in Chicago, Illinois. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is a piece of federal legislation that would make it illegal to hire, fire or refuse to promote LGBT workers simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees can be fired from their jobs in 29 states, and transgender or gender-nonconforming employees can be fired in 38 states.
Video and photos from today's action will be available shortly at www.getequal.org.
In July, GetEQUAL released a timeline showing years of broken promises and excuses from elected officials that have led to the stalling of any federal protections being in place for LGBT workers. In the timeline, Democratic, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is quoted numerous times promising that a vote on ENDA "will be soon." The timeline is available at www.getequal.org/endatimeline.
In May of this year, Join the Impact Chicago (JTIC) held a sit-in in Senator Dick Durbin's (D-IL) Chicago office demanding he push for a Senate vote on the 40 year old ENDA legislation. Some of the same activists involved in that action are also represented in today's action targeting Rep. Lipinski.
Lindsey Dietzler, a member of JTIC who was involved in both actions, commented today, "After sitting-in at Senator Durbin's office in May, friends and colleagues would ask me why we did it. I would tell them it was to demand that Durbin forcefully advocate for a trans-inclusive ENDA. No one knows what ENDA stands for, let alone that a law like it is not already in place. It became clear, that education about ENDA to our community and advocates is essential. Our flash mob and video aim to educate folks on what ENDA is and how dire it is to our community, in a fun, vibrant and interactive way."
"As long as people's lives and livelihoods are at stake, GetEQUAL will continue standing up with allied organizations demanding federal protections for millions of American workers," said Robin McGehee, co-founder and director of GetEQUAL. "For 40 years the LGBT community has asked Congress to simply protect our right to employment and to provide for our families. The passage of ENDA is way overdue. With the launch of our 'ENDA Summer' campaign, we pledged to continually remind politicians that while they are back home campaigning to save their jobs, we intend on reminding them that their employment isn't the only one on the line. Millions of LGBT workers punch a clock every single day unsure if today's timecard could turn into tomorrow's discriminatory pink slip. The time to pass ENDA is now."
Today's ENDA action targeting Rep. Lipinski builds on prior actions, including one recently that targeted House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Rep. George Miller (D-CA) at a campaign debate. Rep. Miller, over six months ago, promised that after healthcare legislation was passed that he'd move on ENDA. Healthcare legislation passed the House on March 22nd, 2010. GetEQUAL has also organized or co-organized events targeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress. In fact, earlier this month GetEQUAL and other LGBT advocates shut-down Market and Castro Street in Speaker Pelosi's congressional district in San Francisco. Additionally, GetEQUAL has organized sit-ins in Speaker Pelosi's offices in March of this year, various rallies at the Speaker's district office in San Francisco, non-violent acts of civil disobedience in July in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda that targeted Speaker Pelosi, and the shut-down of Las Vegas Boulevard, targeting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
Contact: Brad Luna -- 202/812.8140 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org