Lawsuit: Arkansas high school denied black student status as class’ sole valedictorian

On Sunday, same-sex couples began marrying in New York, the sixth state where such unions are legal. It was certainly a big step forward in the battle for LGBT equality. But it seems that every time equality takes one step forward in one place, something happens somewhere else that takes us all two steps — or three, or four — back.

The day after same-sex marriages started in New York, I found this story about a high school principal in McGeHee, Ark., who decided to name a white student as co-valedictorian of the 2011 senior class, even though a black student had a higher GPA and should have been named the class’ sole valedictorian.

(I am not trying to start a debate here about whether the LGBT civil rights movement is the same as the black civil rights movement. I am just saying that there’s a long way to go when it comes to equality for everyone.)

Kymberly Wimberly, 18, got only one B — the rest of her grades were all As — during her years at McGehee Secondary Schools, even though her class schedule had always been loaded down with honors and advanced placement classes, according to a report by Courthouse News Service. Even though, as Wimberly’s senior year drew to a close, she had the highest GPA in the class — something her school guidance counselor had already told her — Principal Darrell Thompson decided to name a white student as co-valedictorian because he didn’t want people to be upset that the school, where a majority of students are white, had a black valedictorian, according to Wimberly and her mother, Molly Bratton.

News reports, by the way, indicate that 46 percent of the student body at McGehee is black. So the white majority isn’t really a big majority at all.

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Dallas premiere of ‘March On’ is Thursday night

Laura McFerrin

Dallas filmmaker Laura McFerrin’s award-winning documentary about the National Equality March, March On, will finally make its North Texas debut on Thursday, Feb. 24.

The film, which tells the story of the 2009 LGBT march on Washington through the lives of five families, will be screened at 7 p.m. at Studio Movie Grill, 11170 N. Central Expressway (at Royal Lane).

The screening is a fundraiser for GetEQUAL, but admission is free. Donations are welcome at the door, and merchandise will be available for purchase.

In addition to McFerrin, the screening will feature March On cast members Omar Lopez and Zoe Nicholson, who will offer a Q&A afterward, as well as GetEQUAL director and co-founder Robin McGehee.

For more info or to RSVP, got to the Facebook event page.

—  John Wright

GetEQUAL Founders Robin McGehee + Kip Williams Returning To The Real World

There probably won't be many White House fence handcuffings in the near future for GetEQUAL creators Robin McGehee or Kip Williams, who formed the group this time last year after the National Equality March: The pair have announced they are returning to the real world now that their "generous seed funding" has run dry: "Launching this exciting shift in our structure is accompanied by a shift for me," writes McGehee in a statement. "I made a decision one year ago to put my career as a tenure-track college professor on hold in order to work with GetEQUAL full-time — intending to get things up and running, and then to step back a bit in order for other organizers to step forward. That work has been the opportunity of a lifetime and, though I am returning to the classroom, I will remain at GetEQUAL as Director. This shift is only possible because of the success we have seen in building up a community of folks — including you — who are unwilling to sit on the sidelines while others deal away our equality in the confines of Washington, DC. While I am returning to the classroom, I am also keeping my feet firmly planted at GetEQUAL and will be encouraging all the talented organizers working with us now to take a more active role in GetEQUAL's work. GetEQUAL's co-founder, Kip Williams, will also be shifting a bit — while he will continue organizing with us, he has succumbed to the siren call of graduate school and we're proud that he will be making academia just a bit more radical. :-) " So what does all this mean, besides leaving Nancy Pelosi alone and more freely flowing traffic? That Jonathan Lewis, the Progressive Insurance heir who bankrolled the operation, is trimming down his cash infusions, though "three full-time regional field directors and a managing director" will stay on. Maybe they'll start poking at that ENDA thing?


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Queerty

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White House invites Dan Choi, Robin McGehee, bloggers to DADT Repeal Act of 2010 signing ceremony

I think this is a big step for the direct action group GetEqual, whose tactics didn’t receive a lot of establishment respect. The White House, while shaken by some of the protests, clearly offered the olive branch by inviting both Lt. Dan Choi and Robin McGehee to Wednesday’s White House signing ceremony.

The signing will not be held at the White House. The invite list is apparently quite long — the ceremony is being held in an auditorium.

In case you’re wondering, your blogmistress, despite being one of the thorns in the side of the WH at times, has also received an invitation.

That’s heartening, since it also means recognition of the Netroots. Via Twitter I know that John Aravosis (certainly not a WH fan), Andy Towle, and other bloggers are invited, so perhaps the White House would like to use this opportunity to start anew. Time will tell, of course.

As far as my attendance goes, it is a life filled with an abundance of hilarious bad luck, bad timing and bad health. Usually it’s a conflict with my day job when it comes to invites of this nature; this time it’s the damn hysterectomy. YES the plumbing of the damned — it’s removed and it’s still screwing with me, lolol.

Let’s put it this way – I drove a few miles today and mailed a couple of small boxes at the PO, went to one store and came home. My abdomen is now throbbing sore and definitely feels like I overdid it (like stitches pulling). Anyway, attending would be a logistical nightmare for me. I’m not physically ready for a long drive, dealing with flying/the airport or standing for long periods yet. Also, I cannot lift more than 10 lbs for quite a while, so no bag or laptop and gear for me either. Crushing fatigue can strike without warning too. Oh, and folks have to be on site by 7AM on Wednesday. LOL. The reality is (even as I hilariously, sadly bargained with Kate about how it might be possible to go) it takes months to fully recover from a hysterectomy even without complications involving my other issues (fibromyalgia, neuropathy). The smart thing is to sadly and politely decline attending the historic event.

I do hope to see, as I watch the event on the tube on Wednesday with the rest of you, that there are many members of the military attending — those who lost their jobs due to DADT, and we can, in ceremony, close this chapter and move on to full impementation of repeal.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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AmericaBLOG Gay’s Joe Sudbay Interview With GetEQUAL’s Robin McGehee

Joe Sudbay, of AmericaBLOG Gay, interviewed GetEQUAL’s Robin McGehee about her meeting at the White House. The interview was posted in the piece GetEQUAL’s Robin McGehee discusses her meeting at the White House. In an over 17-minute long interview, Robin explains in detail what she told White House Staffer Brian Bond in her November 17th meeting. Here is Joe Sudbay’s interview, presented in two parts:


Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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GetEQUAL’s Robin McGehee discusses her meeting at the White House

Yesterday, we put up a post from GetEQUAL’s Founder and Co-Director Robin McGehee titled, “Back to the White House — to walk through the gates.” Yes, Robin, who got arrested in front of the White House on Monday, had a meeting at the White House on Wednesday. Robin and Heather Cronk met with Brian Bond, who serves as Deputy Director of the Office of Public Engagement.

It’s been quite a week for Robin and GetEQUAL. Today, I talked to Robin about her visit to the White House, including how it evolved and what happened when she got there. As you’ll see, Robin’s post on AMERICAblog Gay played a role in the meeting. Unlike many of the meetings at the White House, this one was on-the-record. Robin wouldn’t have it any other way.

The interview is in two parts:




AMERICAblog Gay

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McGehee: From Handcuffs to Oval Office

Robin McGehee x390 (fair) | ADVOCATE.COMGay activist Robin McGehee went from being dragged by police and
arrested Tuesday for protesting “don’t ask, don’t tell,” to speaking
with a high-ranking White House official Wednesday and demanding
action on LGBT rights.
Advocate.com: Daily News

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