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 [...]
All American Lobby Day has the right idea.
The event, which will lobby for the enumerated anti-bullying Senate Bill at the Lansing Capitol Building on May 13, may be controversial in the LGBT community. But by involving allies of the legislation from the African-American, disabled, Latino and Jewish communities, as well as veterans and unions, organizers of the event are hitting on one key element: support.
Not just support from within the gay community, but from our usual or even unlikely allies who, although maybe not diehard activists for LGBT issues, can help us push our causes into laws.
Take the anti-bullying legislation for example. The bill is meant to protect all children from bullying – and there’s no doubt that we in the LGBT community know that. But more than just understanding that, we need to look to the other communities the legislation is important to for support, because they’re certainly willing to give it.
Part of organizing a successful grassroots base in Michigan that will fight for our issues like Matt’s Safe Schools and Eliot Larsen is engaging the LGBT community as a whole to work together for our causes. But the other part is allies.
We need to do more work to encourage involvement from the straight community; churches, synagogues and mosques; racial and ethnic minorities; the disabled; the old, the young and the in between. Housewives and husbands. Businessmen and women. Veterans. Blue- and white-collar workers.
The bottom line? We need to get support from everywhere we can – and we can’t assume that someone won’t help us just because they’re not personally affected by it. Deep investment from a cause can come from many sources, even something as simple as helping out a gay friend, co-worker or neighbor by putting an equality sticker on their car or work cubicle.
And then there are issues like anti-bullying that apply to a whole slew of groups or communities. If we engage people on issues that apply specifically to them, such as what’s happening now with the All American Lobby Day (which was, by the way, pushed heavily by the disabled community), we will have lifelong friends and supporters when our other issues come along.
Making and maintaining political and social connections with those outside of the LGBT community does more than just help pass our initiatives in the Senate and House of Representatives. It adds ever-more people to the growing list of those who can say “I care about someone who is LGBT, and their rights matter to me.” The more people we get to know, the more people will be able to say that. The more people say that, the more supporters we will have when we really need them.
This isn’t a new idea. It’s just an underutilized one. Don’t be afraid to ask for someone’s support on an issue or for him or her to volunteer or donate for a cause just because you think they won’t care. You might just be surprised at who is willing to fight for what we believe in.