Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
There are obvious connections between the LGBT movement for civil rights, the struggle for racial equality, women’s rights, immigration rights, the peace movement, and calls for fair treatment of the poor. In order for us to achieve our full civil rights, we must understand these linkages, value them, delve into them and commit to working in coalition with organizations and allied leaders.
The NAACP national convention, held in Detroit this past week, saw thousands of people gather to hear a wide range of voices from presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, and luminaries from the civil rights movement. The National Black Justice Coalition is among them this year. The NBJC has raised the voices of black LGBT people within the NAACP, and begun an important dialogue about how our movements can benefit each other. Perhaps the recent announcement by the Ku Klux Klan that they intend to rally in Kalamazoo in August, reported in this issue of BTL, underscores that we are all in this fight for full equality together.
A trememdous example of what building coalitions can offer is seen in our story on the Hate Crimes bill before the U.S. Senate, where a key ally, Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, called the bill “one of the most important civil rights issues currently facing the country.” He helps underscore that fighting extremists fundamentalists in this country is everyone’s concern and battle.
This coming weekend, the National Organization for Women is having its national conference in Dearborn. It is noteworthy that their lead entertainment is Robin Tyler, one of the first out lesbian comedians in the country. There was a time in its early history, when NOW was deeply disturbed by anything lesbian, and the leaders were afraid to embrace their lesbian members. They feared they would be de-legitimized if they associated with “known lesbians.” NOW has recovered from this homophobia and now welcomes its lesbian sisters with open arms. This movement – this deeper understanding of social inequality by the leadership of NOW – is also happening at the NAACP, in the Democratic Party, among environmental activists, in the unions and in calls for economic justice.
It must also happen in a deeper way within the LGBT movement. All of us can learn from others – tactics, strategies and skill sets. But we must also learn that unless all of us have equal rights, no one does. It is not good enough to reach for LGBT equality and leave others behind. It makes us weaker as a movement, and far less important.
So BTL welcomes the NBJC, NAACP and NOW to southeast Michigan. We are glad you are here, and we feel honored to unite with you in the struggle for justice and peace.