Next Wednesday, Former Lieutenant Dan Choi will be speaking at Ramapo College of New Jersey, located in Mahwah, NJ (about 30 min from NYC).
If anyone in the area would like to come, I can get you tickets if you send me an email.
Choi is a former US Army infantry officer who served in combat in the Iraq war during 2006-2007. He became an LGBT rights activist following his coming out on The Rachel Maddow Show in March 2009 and has been publicly challenging America's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, which forbids LGBT service members from serving openly.
He's also an interesting and electrifying speaker, and I've heard a lot of speakers, and even tried it myself on occasion. Not that easy to do, but this man is worth a listen, whether you agree with him or not. Video and details after the jump.
I think what makes him such a good speaker is that here is a man who has put his life on the line for our country, not in a figurative way, but in a literal, they're-shooting-at-us kind of way. He also speaks from the heart, and yet has a natural dramatic flair.
This man is for real. I spent some time with him at Netroots Nation, and he is both tough as nails and touchingly human. He is wiser than his years, but still an ordinary young man in many ways. But whatever he is, he is authentically himself. While I have read many criticisms of Lt. Choi, and haven't agreed with all his words and actions, this man is willing to speak out in a way that many others will not and can not.
I can't wait to see him speak to my students on October 20.
Here's his speech at the National Equality March.
Here's the moment when Dan Choi gave his West Point Ring To Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senator Reid promised to keep it until the pending bill to repeal the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy is signed.
Here's when he spoke at Harvard.
Lieutenant Choi will be speaking from 7:00pm-9:00pm at Friends Hall (SC-219). Feel free to email me for more details. I hope to see you there.