Local LGBTs contribute to 'Truth in Progress' dialogue on race, sexual orientation issues

Marilyn Alexander, C.D. Kirven and Rev. Gil Caldwell
Marilyn Alexander, C.D. Kirven and Rev. Gil Caldwell

At the Creating Change conference in Dallas earlier this year, I had the opportunity to have lunch with an old friend, Marilyn Alexander, and a new friend, the Rev. Gil Caldwell.

The two have teamed to create Truth in Progress. The project began as a dialogue on issues of race, sexual orientation and faith that began 10 years ago.

Truth in Progress developed into a multimedia project taking a special look at the similar yet different experiences and histories of the black civil rights and LGBT equality movements.

After the jump is the first video created by Alexander and Caldwell.

—  David Taffet

Memories of a segregated Dallas

The Rev. Gil Caldwell and Marilyn Bennett of Truth in Progress
The Rev. Gil Caldwell and Marilyn Bennett of Truth in Progress

Last week, I posted this blog about the Truth in Progress project, a three-year, multi-media project examining the intersection of racism and homophobia and how the black civil rights movement and the LGBT rights movement are alike, and how they differ. Marilyn Bennett and the Rev. Gil Caldwell are the forces behind Truth in Progress, and they are bringing the conversation to Dallas on Thursday.

The project grew out of a series of e-mails, and later a blog, between Marilyn, an old friend of mine, and Rev. Caldwell. So when Marilyn sent the link to the post to Rev. Caldwell, he responded with this letter, reprinted below (just FYI, Marilyn and Rev. Caldwell refer to each other in their e-mails as Younger Sister and Elder Brother, or YS and EB):

YS Marilyn,

Thanks for sharing the Dallas Voice announcement of “Truth in Progress coming to Dallas.” What a beautiful announcement of our visit to Dallas.

You spent time there at SMU/Perkins, and I  spent time there at St. Paul United Methodist Church where my dad was minister, and Booker T. Washington High School, across the street from where I lived, where I spent my freshman year in HIgh School. I arrived in Dallas in 1946 from North Carolina and left Dallas in 1950 to go with my preacher-father to Galveston. YS, you have your memories of Dallas (some good, some not-so-good) and I, your EB, have the same.

—  admin

Truth in Progress coming to Dallas

The Rev. Gil Caldwell and Marilyn Bennett bring their "Truth in Progress" project to Dallas on Feb. 4.
The Rev. Gil Caldwell and Marilyn Bennett bring their “Truth in Progress” project to Dallas on Feb. 4.

My old (“old” as in I have known her for years, not “old” as in age!) friend Marilyn Bennett is coming back to Dallas next week, and she is bringing with her the Rev. Gil Caldwell, and they are looking for people to participate in a project that looks to be very, very interesting,

It’s called “Truth in Progress: Conversations in Mixed Company,” and it is a “three-year multi-media project exploring issues of race, sexual orientation and religion, with some gender and age thrown in with a heavy dose of humor,” according to the Truth in Progress Web site.

Rev. Caldwell — a straight, black, male, older, retired civil rights movement foot soldier — and Marilyn — a younger, white lesbian author, sometimes-activist — are carrying their project to different cities around the country that have been significant in either or both the black civil rights movement and the LGBT civil rights movement to talk to people and film interviews that will be included in the project’s interactive Web site, its print publication and its full-length documentary.

Comparisons between the two civil rights movements are a touchy subject for many people. And Marilyn and Rev. Caldwell want as many people — with as many different opinions — as possible to join the conversation.

Go here to check out the Truth in Progress Web site for more information on the project, on Marilyn and on Rev. Caldwell. Read their blog. Start thinking about what they are saying, and start thinking about how you want to contribute to the conversation.

And make plans to attend the event in Dallas. next Thursday, Feb. 4, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at First Unitarian Church. 4015 Normandy Ave.

As the Web site says, “There’s no cost to get in, and no cost to get out. But if you want to leave a check or cash in between, that’s certainly acceptable.”

—  admin