Taking It to the Streets
In any civil rights movement that is successful there is a need for radical leaders and foot soldiers. The two people in this photograph are two radical leaders that I respect and admire so much, Chris Sanders of the Tennessee Equality Project and Marisa Richmond of Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition. These two people truly walk what they talk, and are always on the front lines. They are not radical in the sense of being pushy and obnoxious. They simply stand their ground, move courteously and effectively, and never give up. They are present and accounted for.
There have been no civil rights in this country that have been won without people who were willing to take it to the streets, the foot soldiers. For some people this is somehow distasteful. For me, it has always been energizing, I have marched for the original Civil Rights (racial equality), for women’s rights, and against the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. I am now involved in what has been called the “last great civil rights struggle of our lifetime,” the movement for equal rights for LGBT citizens.
It is urgently important that those of us who believe that no one is free unless everyone is free take part in this movement. The time has come for us to let our voices be heard. The time is ripe for change.
While it is quite true that organizations like the HRC ( just to name one–there are many) work to fight for rights through legal venues, there is always a need to show up and be counted when the street is where the action is. It is the energy that is generated in the street that sparks the consciousness of those who make decisions in the courts, and in the legislatures. We are fortunate to live in a country where we can do this without fear for our lives. The time is now, and we are the called.
It is time to speak up loud, proud, and clear for what we believe in.
For this reason I urge you, if you believe as I do, that the time is ripe for equality, to show up on August 31 at 4 PM at the Metro Public Square and rally for Marriage Equality. The Tennessee Equality Project is partnering with the Human Rights Campaign on this one and it needs to be a great big show. Make signs and bring them. The Neanderthal Tennessee legislature has declared August 31 to be “traditional marriage day” (oh, please) and we need to step it up for diversity and inclusion. See you there.