I've been a bit distracted this week so I'll try to recap some of the high (and low) lights for you …
Spoke with Dok Harris' campaign manager, Michael. Dok is very interested in working with the LGBT community. He has completed the Steel City Stonewall survey which I hope will be posted on their website very soon. This should prove to be an interesting race because Dok is miles ahead in terms of name recognition. I'm going to be sitting down with him soon to talk in more depth about LGBT issues.
Kevin Acklin also completed the survey and had some good, intense things to say. I've met Kevin several times in person and find his intensity very appealing. But I struggle with his previous support for Rick Santorum.
I anticipate the Mayor getting his LGBT Advisory Committee up and running momentarily. They are winnowing down the applicants and setting a first meeting for August. I wonder if the fact that Harris and Acklin are courting the LGBT community will light a fire under the Ravenstahl Administration to be able to say they have accomplished *something* for the community? That might help him coast through this election. Then he'll need to actually do something else for the next go around. That's also when the configuration will come to play — if he puts his go-to-guys on the committee, game over. But can we expect him to do otherwise? Realistically, he is so far in bed with his go to guys that I'd give it a 7% chance that at least one of them will not be on the committee. That's being generous. I just don't think he has enough imagination to realize he can form a committee with fresh new voices and still maintain his private go to guys, thus appearing open-minded and willing to associate with other gay people. We'll see. I'd love if Paul McKrell and Yarone Zober could prove me wrong. Really, I would.
On the national level, hate crimes legislation has passed both the House and Senate albeit different versions that warrant a conference committee to iron out the differences. The ACLU is balking over potential restrictions on free speech. The wingnuts are screaming about it. I didn't like when the guy downtown yelled a gay slur at me, but I recognize that there is big difference between him expressing his bigotry and him assaulting me. I'd like to know that if he had assaulted me, it would matter that he targeted me for being a dyke.
The President mentioned the LGBTQ community in his recent speech to the NAACP. Pam's House Blend has the story.
But make no mistake: the pain of discrimination is still felt in America. By African-American women paid less for doing the same work as colleagues of a different color and gender. By Latinos made to feel unwelcome in their own country. By Muslim Americans viewed with suspicion for simply kneeling down to pray. By our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still denied their rights.
On the 45th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, discrimination must not stand. Not on account of color or gender; how you worship or who you love. Prejudice has no place in the United States of America.
The Steel City Stonewall meeting took place this past Thursday. Next one is Tuesday August 11, 7 PM at Crazy Mocha in Lawrenceville. I find the meetings provide a fascinating examination on what is happening behind the scenes. This is a great chance to get involved, especially if you don't really know a lot about politics. The group includes people who are pretty conservative in terms of wanting to work within the status quo to people who are much further on the margin. Makes for great discussion.
I'm a little distracted with the news that my 93 year old grandmother does not have much longer. One of those could be 3 week or 3 month things. I'm really lucky to have had her for 38 years. We are also lucky that she was able to be at home right through the end thanks to some programs we discovered through the Area Agency on Aging and a great in-home staff person who has become like family. I'm trying to sort through the arrangements end of things which is a pain. So if my head isn't in the game, that's why.