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.