Rally marks 41st anniversary of New York rebellion and 1st anniversary of Rainbow Lounge raid in Fort Worth

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

For the first time since the original parade in Downtown Dallas in 1972, a Pride rally will take place outside of Oak Lawn. The march marks the first anniversary of the Rainbow Lounge Raid and the 41st anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion.

Daniel Cates is one of the organizers the June 27 march.

“Harvey Milk said, ‘We’ve got to get out of the ghetto. We’ve got to take our fight to Main Street.’ We’re literally doing that,” Cates said.

A pre-march pep-rally, led by activist Elizabeth Pax, will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Founder’s Plaza on the corner of Main and Market Streets outside the County Records Building.

“We don’t just want to be chanting,” Cates said. “We want it to be echoing off the buildings.”

The march steps off at 7:15 p.m. Marchers will head east on Commerce Street six blocks to Ervay Street and return to Founders Plaza along Main Street.

Cates said police offered a route up Elm Street, which would have made a wider loop, but they chose Main Street for the symbolism.
He said he heard constant criticism of last year’s Equality March on Cedar Springs as “preaching to the choir.”

“This literally gets us on Main Street,” he said.

Although there are few people in Downtown Dallas on a Saturday night, he said thousands of people do live Downtown and lots of restaurants on Main and Commerce streets are open.

He expects media coverage that they did not get with the 2009 march.

A dozen speakers are scheduled during the freedom rally after the march. Stephen Sprinkle from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University is the keynote speaker.

“Just because we are 41 years from Stonewall doesn’t mean we’re free and equal,” Sprinkle said. “No one in America received rights and privileges as a gift.”

He also said the march and rally were a time to celebrate LGBT community, leadership, hope and talent.

Rafael McDonnell from Resource Center Dallas is also scheduled to speak.

“I promise to keep my remarks brief,” he said. “I am going to look at what has happened over the last year — a number of advances and where we’re heading.”

Cates said he scheduled activist Chastity Kirven to excite and rile up the crowd.

“Stonewall still lives within us,” Kirven said. “The first finish line we need to cross is civil rights. The baton has been passed to the civil rights leaders of today.”

Marla Compton, the program coordination for the transgender education and advocacy group GEAR, will also speak.

“We are marching to remember what happened at Stonewall and what we’ve accomplished since then,” Compton said. “I’m going to talk about our need for unity. That’s been very important to me ever since I became an advocate for the community.”

Other speakers include Omar Lopez who was discharged from the military under “don’t ask, don’t tell” and local performer Krystal Summers.

At 8:45 p.m., a candlelight vigil will feature vocalist Angela Rains. Cates called her a straight ally, mother of two and proud supporter.
Spencer Young will speak during the vigil. He is a Tyler-area student who performed in the recent, controversial production of “The Laramie Project.”

Cates said he expects the rally to end by 9:30 p.m.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 18, 2010.