A Pittsburgh Queer Political Roadmap as of June 2009
Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
We got a lot going on that impacts us on local, statewide and national levels. Lots of calls to action. Try not to feel overwhelmed or besieged. Instead, this gives you a lot of opportunities to make an impact, most with a simple series of phone calls. I'm going to try and lay it out for you.
This is not in order of importance, just timeliness. Do what moves you (please do it all is what I really mean).
1 Senator John Eichelberger's outrageous comment "We are allowing them to exist" in reference to LGBTQ persons. If you think Pennsylvania's elected officials should not get to determine if you or your loved one exist, then please contact you State Senator today and let them know what you think about this comment. We deserve an apology. You must demand it. If you feel particularly inspired, call or email other local prominent Democrats and ask them to put pressure on their Senate colleagues. If Sally Kern of Oklahoma could draw a response, why not this in our very own backyard? Someone must step up to champion us.
2. HB 300. PA Representative Dan Frankel needs your help. There's a special focus on State Representative Harry Readshaw's district (Brentwood/Mt. Oliver/Southside). Click on the link to find out if that is you. Regardless, you need to follow up with your Representative and encourage/thank them with regard to support of this legislation.
3. Allegheny County Human Relations Act. The vote could come on Wednesday, July 1, 2009. Be at the County Bldg by 4:30 PM that afternoon. The last hearing drew a record setting crowd of 150 people. Let's bring 200 to this one. And PLEASE call your Council Representative. If you can prompt five people in your district to call this week, you can impact this vote.
4. ENDA. Two major pushes. One is the need to talk with three PA Congresspersons about their position. The more "pro" calls they get, the better. The second need is to get our Congressional Representatives to cosponsor the legislation.
5. Luke Ravenstahl's LGBT Advisory Committee. On Friday, April 24, the Mayor's Deputy Chief of Staff Kristen Baginski told us that they were in touch with potential members and would announce when that process was complete. That was almost two months ago. You can email her to ask how many more months (it has been 7 since it was announced) will be needed to form the committee that will advise the Mayor on LGBT issues. You could mention the significant issues outlined above as proof that we really can't afford to wait too much longer. Her email is: Kristen.Baginski@city.pittsburgh.pa.us
6. Democratic National Committee. In response to some of the most outrageous anti-gay rhetoric emerging from the White House since Bush, gay folks are "shutting down the ATM" to the DNC. If you donate to the ACDC or the DNC or other Democratic wings, I'd encourage you to contact them and tell them that there will be no more donations until there is positive movement. Your money is probably better invested in candidates who are good on our/your issues.
Seriously, what has the ACDC done for our community? They had one forum two years ago and that was that. There's been no forward movement on anything discussed at that meeting. There's been no visible outreach or support or endorsement of the County legislation. No financial support of Steel City (that I can identify).
I know that most of you don't donate to the party directly, but think about it. Some folks with sizable bank accounts do financially support the party endorsed candidates, creating an illusion of buy in by the larger community.
Wrong. If there are so many boycotts nationally, why shouldn't we try that tactic locally? Spur our allies to skip the fundraisers until something gets done. Just a thought. It probably will just show that we have no clout and they don't care we think. Or what I think. :-)
Or maybe we need to shake the tree a little bit and let candidates and the party know that they don't "get" our donations without producing results.
7. I'm falling back on my repetition that you should join and become active with Steel City Stonewall Democrats. I was at their monthly meeting last week and it was fascinating. The conversation was fierce and the opinions strong (albeit civil). You can really make an impact on the organization's direction just by showing up and putting your views on the table. You can also make an impact by volunteering. If you are frustrated that you don't get email notices or facebook updates frequently enough to keep you informed and help you plan, join the communications/web committee and take some ownership of that task. A lot of things you can do from home with a computer or a cell phone.
If you do nothing on this list, please join Stonewall (national is pulling sponsorships of DNC events).