This post was written by Nation intern and freelance writer Daniel Chandler.
Over the weekend of October 10/11, more than 200,000 people took part in the National Equality March in Washington, and thousands participated in strategy and activist events, in a bold attempt to kick-start a movement for full civil equality for LGBT people in all 50 states.
As the march’s organizers, a coalition of activists called Equality Across America, kept reminding marchers, the weekend was just the beginning of a movement that they hope will transform the strategy for securing LGBT rights, shifting the focus to the federal level, and refusing to accept ‘fractions of equality’. They called on the crowds assembled in front of the Capitol to go home and create Congressional District Action Teams (CDATs) in all 435 districts.
To keep the momentum going, Equality Across America is currently staging a ‘National Week of Initiative’. (The actions began on Nov. 1) This week provides an opportunity for CDATs, and other individuals, groups and organizations, to come together, talk about what full federal equality really means, and what actions they can take to bring it about.
Those interested in being a part of this growing movement should sign up to receive email alerts, and should join the 57,000-strong National Equality March Facebook group, which has regular postings about new groups and related activities. Then, check out this map with contact details for local groups to see if there is one in your district. If not, think about organizing one yourself. Equality Across America has created a nifty Organizers Toolkit, which has everything you need to know about the goals of the movement, its grassroots strategy, how and why to organize a CDAT, and what to do next.
While Obama has pledged action on a range of LGBT issues, including the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act, there has been little progress so far. Rather than waiting on Obama to act, the LGBT community is seizing this opportunity to push the President using the same grassroots methods that got him to the White House. As Obama said in his speech to the Human Rights Campaign on the eve of the National Equality March, ‘it’s not for me to tell you to be patient’.