Reflections on the March

Posted on 15 Oct 2009 at 6:08pm
By John Wright | News Editor wright@dallasvoice.com

“To be in the presence of hundreds of thousands of people who care as much as you do about freedom is life changing. There are many things I experienced in D.C. that I will carry with me forever, including a strengthened determination to carry on and see through our fight in Texas. One moment, however, will always stand out, and with all of the pre-march excitement, I wonder if only two of us can bear witness to it: As we waited with the Texas contingent for the march to start, several of us grew tired of standing and opted to sit in the grass. In the middle of much chatter and excitement my friend tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the sky. A rainbow was clearly visible in the rays of the sun. I thought to myself, this movement really is huge; even the sky is calling out for equality! I will never forget that moment.” — Daniel Cates

“If there is something I learned this weekend that I know will help me grow as a leader it is that advocacy is the key to change. And change starts with courage. If we don’t have the courage to speak up and ask for equality, then we will never get it. Silence is not an option anymore. Silence is not enough. We need to start speaking up, educating people, and asking for what we want. Otherwise, we will never get it. If we want equality then we better go out there and get it!” — Vic Rodriguez

“If I didn’t know who I was or what I stood for when I went to Washington, I definitely knew when I left the National Mall on Sunday evening. Words can not express my gratitude to two wonderful people, Dante Walkup and Mark Reed, who made it possible for me to experience something that was greater than myself. The generosity of these two people is unparalleled to anything that I have ever experienced in my short 27 years on this planet. I have never been more proud to be a black, gay, American man. I know that this is only the beginning of our work, and I am 100 percent dedicated to the cause. Even if I don’t get to reap the benefits of our struggle when they are awarded to us, there is a nameless face out there that will, and it will be worth the pain we endured.” — Cedric Greenwood

“I spent most of the weekend documenting the events and people that were at the march for my documentary, “March On,” and as the event historian. I witnessed Lt. Dan Choi kissing his boyfriend at Arlington Cemetery in full uniform in front of hundreds of people. I heard peoples’ stories of discrimination as they fought back tears. On the day of the march, I was rushing from a press conference to the end of the march so I could start filming. As I sat in the cab I had my first moment to myself in days. I realized that this march was huge. There is a generation of people that have not been born that will see what I am documenting and I realized that I have an obligation to the people that shared their stories and to the people that are marching. It was a humbling experience and one that I will not soon forget.” — Laura McFerrin

“Eventually I will pay off my credit card. In the long run, I won’t remember the hours I worked in my part-time job to earn the money. However, when equality finally comes to America and I am able to marry the woman I will love, when I don’t have to be afraid of what will happen if my employer ‘finds out’ that I am a lesbian, when I am finally extended the full rights and privileges that are endowed upon every American citizen, I will remember turning the corner on Pennsylvania Avenue, the gorgeous Capitol building rising up in the distance, and looking across a sea of rainbows, signs, banners and fists, at my LGBTQ brothers and sisters and allies passionately fighting for equality in 2009. That memory is, as they say, priceless.” — Elizabeth Pax

“Queer LiberAction along with the Gay Liberation Network from Chicago staged a protest outside of HRC’s annual black-tie fundraising gala where [President] Obama was set to speak. We were sick and tired of being treated as the playthings of the Democratic Party and we weren’t going to have more rosey rhetoric crammed down our throats over wine and cheese. We went to D.C. to place pressure on our elected officials and illustrate how Obama has thus far faltered on all of his promises made to us during his campaign. From the streets we were demanding that Obama be a ‘fierce advocate’ to our community. This means more than reiterating empty promises already made to our community. If Obama was serious about LGBT equality then he would have taken the opportunity on HRC’s largest annual event to explicitly lay down a road map as to how he is going to actively advocate for and advance our civil rights movement. It was disappointing to see the standing ovations and cheers by A-list gays when these ‘kind’ words were delivered.” — Blake Wilkinson

“… Probably the most memorable moment for me was while boarding the airplane back to Dallas, I received a call from Stacey Simmons, a person whom I worked closely with on Facebook and Twitter promoting the march. She is Robin McGehee’s girlfriend and they had a message on their hotel room phone from a teenager from Toronto. The message was similar to one Harvey Milk received a day after being elected from a kid from Altoona, Pa. The caller wanted to thank Robin for all her efforts for organizing the march and how he now had hope for things to be different and society to change. After three suicide attempts, he’s no longer trying to take his life. Milk’s famous quote was, ‘You have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right.’ This march gave him hope!” — Mark Reed


This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 16, 2009.

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