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Tomorrow is a HUGE day for those in California (gay, straight, trans, and everything in between!) who believe in equal rights FOR ALL, in this case the right for everyone to marry the person they love. Of course it isn’t JUST for those in California since this outcome will send a signal to the rest of our country and the world. Fingers crossed it’s a signal of equality and hope. Please watch the following video and TAKE PART in tonight’s vigils across not only California, but other areas of the country.

This anticipation of change is exciting folks, it’s REALLY exciting.

From Eve of Justice:

EVE OF JUSTICE

Candle

The Eve of Justice: Lighting the way for the Supreme Court

Chico Costa Mesa Delano Fort Bragg Fresno Kernville Long Beach
Los Angeles Mariposa Miami, Florida Modesto Napa New York Palm Springs
Palo Alto Phoenix, Arizona Riverside Roseville Sacramento San Diego San Francisco
San Jose San Luis Obispo San Mateo Santa Barbara Santa Cruz Santa Maria Stockton
Thousand Oaks Tulsa, Oklahoma Tucson, Arizona Tuolumne Ukiah Ventura Visalia

Wednesday, March 4 is the day before the California Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the validity of Prop 8. That evening, we’ll stand together and send a unified message to our fellow Californians, including the Supreme Court Justices, that individual liberties like the right to marry are guaranteed by the Constitution to everyone and cannot be stripped away at the ballot box by a bare majority. Just as important, we will give our love and support to all the families headed by same-sex couples who are threatened by the recent electoral outcome, as well as same-sex couples whose hopes and dreams of marriage and family have been frustrated by enactment of Prop 8.

To read the parties’ filings and the dozens of amicus ‘friend of the court’ briefs filed on behalf of Civil Rights Organizations, Bar Associations, Academics, Women’s Groups, Faith and Religious Groups, and many others go to http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/prop8.htm

March 5th – Supreme Court Oral Argument Hearing 9am to noon.

Television viewing: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/prop8viewing.htm

Local Public Viewings: Check your local city for viewing locations as they become available.

Equality should not be put up for a popular vote.

• Prop 8 is a radical and unprecedented change to the California Constitution that puts all Californians at risk.
• Prop 8 defeats the very purpose of our constitution, which is to protect minorities and to make sure the law treats everyone equally.
• This is the first time the initiative process has successfully been used to change the California Constitution to take away a fundamental freedom from a particular group and to mandate government discrimination against a minority.
• If prop 8 is upheld, the courts will no longer have a meaningful role in protecting minority groups or women, since any decision prohibiting discrimination could be reversed by a simple majority.

Nationwide/Statewide Sponsors of Eve of Justice

Marriage Equality USA Human Rights Campaign EQCA Join The Impact
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation PFLAG COLAGE National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Courage Campaign California Faith for Equality Progressive Jewish Alliance Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry, California Amnesty International Gay-Straight Alliance Network
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I hope every woman in this country, whether they agree with Roe or they disagree with Roe, whether they themselves would make one decision or another, will come together and say: Prochoice means that the Government respects the individual, and isn’t that really what our country is all about?~Senator Barbara Boxer

Today is the 35th anniversary of one of the most important legal decisions for women in our country, and one well worth taking time to acknowledge. Unfortunately it’s quite easy to be lulled into a false sense of security that Roe v. Wade will always hold firm, but there are many people opposed to a woman’s constitutional right to privacy and to her right to make her own decisions regarding her health and safety. We must remain vigilant against the chipping away of women’s rights by anti-choice groups and their ability to work their viewpoints into our government and legal system. Happy Anniversary, women!

From Planned Parenthood:

35th Anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade Decision

The 35th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision, legalizing abortion nationwide, is one of the most powerful reminders that the struggle to protect women’s health and safety continues. Reproductive freedom is still a political target for extremists, and the battle isn’t just being waged over abortion, but over access to contraception and medically accurate sex education.The best way to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies is to make contraception accessible and affordable and provide young people with comprehensive sex education that helps them make responsible decisions about their reproductive health.

To commemorate 35 years since Roe, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Planned Parenthood’s advocacy and political arm, is launching a One Million Strong Campaign to mobilize people who care about women’s health and get one million people to the polls in 2008.

With One Million Strong, Planned Parenthood Action Fund will

  • make women’s health issues a campaign priority for all the candidates
  • and defeat ballot initiatives in communities across America

Visit the Planned Parenthood Action Fund website today to find out more about how you can become involved and join the campaign.

For more information background on Roe v. Wade and its impact over the past 35 years, refer to the links below:

Today’s email from the Human Rights Campaign:

 
  Take  action against hate crimes  
 

The hate crimes bill has been derailed.

But we’re not giving up.

We’ve made huge progress already, and we’ll work tirelessly to get this legislation through in 2008.

Dear *****,

As I write this, I am filled with both deep disappointment and gratitude. I am disappointed because our fight for a hate crimes bill has been derailed, but grateful for the historic advances that we were able to achieve this year.

As you all know, we have made momentous advancements this year by moving the federal hate crimes legislation the closest it has ever been to becoming law. For the first time ever, in one year we were able to pass the fully-inclusive legislation through both chambers of Congress – a truly historic feat.

If you recall, the Matthew Shepard Act first passed the House of Representatives back in May as a stand-alone piece of legislation. It then moved to the Senate, where it passed 60 to 39 in September as an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) attached the Matthew Shepard Act to the Department of Defense Authorization bill because President Bush had announced that he would veto a free-standing hate crimes bill. By amending hate crimes to this larger bill, Senators Kennedy and Smith thought that we had a better chance of getting the president’s signature. After all, Bush would have to veto the entire piece of legislation – hate crimes AND programs for his war in Iraq – to reject hate crimes protections.

But in a frustrating move yesterday, during the very last legislative step – a conference committee working out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill – we received word that the Matthew Shepard Act would be dropped from the final version of the bill. The hate crimes veto threat issued by the White House and organized opposition by House Republican Leadership cost significant numbers of votes on the right. Iraq-related provisions, which many progressive Democrats opposed, cost votes on the left. Moderate Democrats, many of whom voted for the hate crimes bill in May, did not want to test the President’s veto threat and risk a delay in increased pay for military personnel. All of these factors resulted in insufficient votes to secure passage of the bill with the hate crimes provision.

HRC coordinated a major final push to protect this bill. 40,000 HRC activists responded to our call and wrote to Congress. We helped organize a coalition effort with 120 national and local organizations. We held 11th-hour meetings with lawmakers.

Despite the anger we all feel that we fell short so close to the finish line, we cannot lose sight of the fact that we did succeed in moving hate crimes legislation the closest it has ever been to hitting the President’s desk for signature. And rest assured, the Human Rights Campaign is not done fighting. We are not giving up on efforts to find another legislative vehicle, in the second half of this Congress, to move the Matthew Shepard Act. Yes, we made historic advancements, but we will not be satisfied until we get a President who will use his or her pen to enshrine into our federal law books that violence against the GLBT community will not be tolerated in this country.

We have been a leader in the fight for hate crimes legislation for over a decade, and we’re not about to let this setback deter us. We will not rest until these protections are law.

We also can’t lose track of the bigger picture for 2008. On top of working to advance this bill and the rest of our equality agenda, we are already mobilizing around the 2008 elections. We are investing major resources to:

  • Elect local pro-equality officials who will be tomorrow’s national leaders,
  • Expand our majority in Congress – so that we will have the votes we need to thwart roadblocks like this – and
  • Elect a leader in the White House who would NEVER veto a bill protecting Americans from hate crimes.

These are the moments when your support counts most. Together, we’ll find the right path to victory. We know it is there.

Warmly,
Joe Solmonese
Joe Solmonese
President

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketToday, October 11th, is National Coming Out Day, so I thought I’d post a little information from the Human Rights Campaign web site. For those who have yet to come out, know that there is support out there, sometimes where you’d least expect it. And for those of you like myself, who have “come out” as straight supporters of GLBT rights, keep your voices strong. This is an issue of common sense, common decency, compassion, and most of all love.

T.R. Knight PSA for GLAAD

From the Human Rights Campaign web site:

About Coming Out as a Straight Supporter (from the HRC web site)

A straight ally is someone who is not gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT) but personally advocates for GLBT equal rights and fair treatment. Straight allies are some of the most effective and powerful advocates for the GLBT movement. These allies have proven invaluable personally and politically, and are increasingly important in the fight for GLBT equality. Indeed, their voices often have been heard while those of GLBT people have been ignored.

Coming out as a straight ally may be an extremely challenging experience, but many find that it is unexpectedly rewarding. Some may think that advocating on behalf of GLBT equality is solely the responsibility of those who are affected by the inequality.

But as straight ally Caleb Baker has put it: “U.S. Representative John Lewis once said that the next great movement in America would be the gay rights movement. His words make me remember there are white people fighting for black people’s rights in the civil rights movement. There are men fighting for women’s rights in the feminist movement. I would be greatly ashamed if there were no straight people fighting for gay rights in our movement.” (GLSEN’s Students and GSA’s Yearbook)

Like GLBT people, straight allies will find that coming out is not a one-time event, but rather a lifelong journey.

Opinion polls show that people who know someone who is gay or lesbian are more likely to support equal rights for all gay and lesbian people. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that the same is true for people who know someone who is bisexual or transgender.

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A couple of reminders…

Cyndi Lauper on The View discussing True Colors Tour 2007

Cyndi Lauper on The View singing “True Colors”

For your consideration on the topic of Columbus Day.

Videos:

Web site:

Transform Columbus Day Alliance

Book:

Ronald Takaki’s 1993 excellent read on the history of multiculturalism in America, beginning with the colonization of “The New World” and continuing through the Los Angeles riots in 1992. Thankfully I was required to read this book for a teaching credential course on the role of cultural diversity in schooling, but wish that everyone would take the time to read it of their own volition.

Sniffin’ out the info

Photobucket

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