Friday, June 5, 2009

A Call to Action on the President's Proclamation

This special guest post comes to us from PFLAG National President, John Cepek:

"When I met Barack Obama, neither of us was yet a President. During the cocktail hour at the 2004 Equality Illinois gala in Chicago, my wife, my sister-in-law, and I saw him standing alone, unattended, in the crowd. At that time, he was running second or third in the primary for the Illinois senate seat. We spoke with him for about five minutes. He joked about having papers to grade—he was teaching at the University of Chicago—and we talked about PFLAG and thanked him for attending the gala.

Little did we know then that he’d ever be elected Senator, let alone President. We did know he obviously sought the support of the LGBT community. With President Bush already making noises about protecting marriage with a Constitutional amendment, we welcomed anyone on our side.

When Barack Obama gave that fantastic speech at the 2004 convention, we began to expect great things. When he talked about LGBT people and issues in the 2008 campaign and later posted supportive policy statements in the civil rights section of the White House Web page, we expected even more. When we learned that he’d appointed an LGBT taskforce and invited representatives of advocacy groups to speak with government staff, we became almost giddy with anticipation.

Now, on June 1, President Obama issued over his signature a proclamation of June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. In the proclamation, he hits the right notes on the issues (except for marriage equality, where he continues his call for civil unions).

The President appears to be poised to deliver. Now, more than ever, we have to speak to him. Now, we need to let him know that we expect the same kind of heavy lifting from him for LGBT civil rights that President Johnson exerted for African-American civil rights.

I’m so happy with the words and symbols that I’m almost ready to relax and let the President do the heavy lifting. But I won’t, and I hope the rest of you won’t either.

Call the White House, (202) 456-1111, thank the President for the proclamation, and let him know we expect him to fulfill his words and his destiny in moving LGBT equality forward.

Better yet, send him a hand-written letter:

Barack Obama
President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500

President Obama no doubt has all the good intentions in the world, but he needs to hear our family voices to get the equality train roaring down the track.

Action, we need action.

- John Cepek

2 comments:

Seething Mom said...

I have written President Obama, just not in the form of a handwritten letter as you have suggested, but rather as a personal online plea
, one parent to another.

Sadly, I do not share your optimism that "The President appears to be poised to deliver." And I desperately hope you are right and I am wrong.

Sincerely,
Seething Mom

Roger said...

Nice.