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Karen Ocamb

What HRC Thinks of the LA Gay and Lesbian Center

Filed By Karen Ocamb | February 16, 2011 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: HRC, LA Gay and Lesbian Center

Last week I posted a wonderful story about 7 year old Malcolm, who I described as "the LGBT Community's Newest Hero." It was actually a fundraising email sent from LA Gay & Lesbian Center CEO Lorri Jean. She talked about how moved the Center staff was receiving Malcolm's note and $70 contribution and how the Center got permission from Malcolm's mom to use the story to raise money for the Center's Transitional Living Program for homeless LGBT youth. Jean also wrote:

[Malcolm's] mom enclosed a note explaining a little more:

"To teach the importance of improving the world around him, Malcolm was given $140 to give away to the charity of his choice. After hearing a story on the radio about the mistreatment of gays and lesbians, Malcolm became both upset and curious about the issue...to help, he chose to split his money between the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation."

What a difference a week and roughly 2,660 miles make. Tuesday morning, Joe Solmonese and HRC put out their own fundraising pitch based on Malcolm's donation. Not only is the tone different - but HRC reduced the LA Gay & Lesbian Center to "a local group in LA," as if the historic organization - a model for LGBT centers worldwide – that has existed longer than HRC is just some LGBT charity picked because it's local.

From HRC's fundraising email:

"Malcolm’s grandmother gave him $20 for every year of his life to donate to the charity of his choice. After hearing a radio story about the injustices faced by LGBT people, Malcolm decided to split his donation between HRC and a local group in Los Angeles, where he lives."

Might I be sounding just a tad bit regional? You Betcha!

Here's the entire fundraising email from HRC's Solmonese:

“My name is Malcolm. I’m 7 years old. I’m sending you this money because I don’t think it’s fair that gay people are not treated equally.”

That’s the note we received recently along with a donation of $70.

Seven years old, and he’s already decided to do something about the injustice in his world. And thanks to his gift, other kids will grow up safe and free because of HRC’s work - whether it’s our Welcoming Schools program, our efforts to ensure that every person of faith can worship without fear of persecution, or our fight for equality in America’s laws.

Will you match Malcolm’s commitment to equality by donating $70 as well?

Yes! If Malcolm is willing to fight, so am I.

Malcolm’s grandmother gave him $20 for every year of his life to donate to the charity of his choice. After hearing a radio story about the injustices faced by LGBT people, Malcolm decided to split his donation between HRC and a local group in Los Angeles, where he lives.

His gift will go to projects like our groundbreaking Welcoming Schools program - which fights bullying by helping parents, teachers, and administrators create a safe environment for all children. 84% of HRC’s funding comes from individuals, not foundations or grants. Our success is driven by thousands of modest gifts.

But very few come with a note like Malcolm’s - click here to see it.

Standing up to discrimination is never easy, particularly when the hierarchies of the Mormon, Catholic, and some evangelical churches distort core faith values around fairness - and when the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage or bigoted leaders in Congress lie about our families.

That’s what makes Malcolm’s act all the more commendable. I hope his courage inspires all of us to remember that you don’t need to be old and experienced to know right from wrong, and to share that message with our friends and families.

And I hope it inspires you to match Malcolm’s commitment because Malcolm can’t do this alone. And neither can HRC. It is the hundreds of thousands of people like you and like Malcolm, who simply won’t accept a world of inequality and discrimination, who make every single gain possible.

Match Malcolm’s commitment - and show you’re ready to fight.

How much you give isn’t what’s most important. What matters is your commitment to leading the fight for equality.

Thank you for all that you have done - and all that we will do together in the months to come.


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I hate HRC so hard. Because of this very arrogance.

staceys.grrl | February 16, 2011 3:41 PM

I am a transgender woman married to a woman. I am sick and tired of the HRC always using us as their sacrificial goat whenever they want to compromise over legislation protecting gays and lesbians. My experience with them has led me to believe that the HRC is interested in and dedicated to first and foremost the survival of the HRC, with only equal rights for all humans coming a distant second--and not even ALL humans.

Although they won't do a single thing for us as transgenders, they still keep asking for our money.

Kathy Padilla | February 16, 2011 3:56 PM

Well - the annual report for the Center lists an operating budget of over 47 million? I think that makes you larger than HRC.

There's usually a good working relationship between the Center and HRC. HRC's stepped in it big-time; I'd say Joe Solomonese has some apologies to make to Lorri Jean.

Thank you for all that you have done - and all that we will do together in the months to come.

I might be more impressed by this if HRC had actually done anything in the last 10-15 years.

HRC is the Arrogant, Lying, Self Indulgent, and a horrible Spin organization! Joe & Others say what ever they want, with out ever apologizing or admitting to lying because they think no one will call them out on it! I personally feel horrible that Malcolm gave any money to HRC! he was ripped off!

Well, half his money went to a good cause and half got flushed into HRC.
The more I know about HRC and Buffalo Joe the less I like them.

Rev Scott Imler | February 17, 2011 6:54 AM

If the NO on 8 campaign and the heavy-handed Kill 2010 Repeal juggernaut were any indication, then the LAGLC and HRC have much in common.

Where they differ markedly is in their scope of community service and their leadership. Lorrie Jean runs perhaps the most caring and conscientious people serving organization in the country. Whatever one might say about her political M.O., Lorrie Jean's tireless efforts and unparalleled commitment to the COMMUNITIES served by the LAGLC stands her among the historical giants of the LGBT liberation movement.

To paraphrase John the Baptist from the Gospel According to Mark, Joe Solmonese is "not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of her (her) sandals." Of course Lorrie Jean is far too classy an act to ever say such a thing herself, which is likely the reason Joe thought he could get away with such a derogatory statement.

"Oh Joe. Can I call you Joe?" Get a life.

Just think what would have happened if the kid had split it between HRC and, say, the Transgender Center in Houston.

There would have been no mention of the non-HRC $70 at all.

To bastardize Cheech and Chong, A day without sunshine is like...HRC."

I wonder if HRC will raise enough off this scam to buy Joe some new Prada trainers.

Prada is offering a killer pair for just $509.00 in tasteful grey and black. (No red of course, that's reserved for a certain Person in the Vatican.) But still, a bargain at any price.