Main | Tuesday, June 01, 2010

On The Rise Of GetEQUAL

From heckling the president, to congressional sit-ins, to chaining themselves to the White House fence, not since ACT-UP has an activist group shaken up our world as GetEQUAL has. Today Andrew Harmon and Kerry Eleveld have posted a lengthy dissection of GetEQUAL for the Advocate. An excerpt:
Although GetEqual appears to have sprung up from nowhere and arrived with haste, the group is an amalgamation of grassroots passion, Beltway savvy, and well-heeled support. Conceived out of a desire to revive the legacy of civil disobedience as exemplified by the civil rights movement and the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), the group has both directed and inspired a spate of protests by activists nationwide. Its members have taken on the Fred Phelps “God Hates Fags” clan, disrupted congressional committee meetings, and heckled President Barack Obama at Democratic fund-raisers, as Kip Williams, who founded the group with McGehee, did last week, leading to his second arrest since GetEqual’s founding.

Along the way, they’ve have been portrayed as “rude, rash and paranoid, and virtually impossible to please” — words used to describe ACT UP members in a 1990 New York Times story. The historic compromise vote in the House and the Senate Armed Services Committee to begin the process of DADT repeal did little to modulate GetEqual's communiqués: "We keep asking the question, 'When will the military discharges end?' and have not yet received an answer from the legislative or executive branches," one recent release reads. "It is the President’s moral responsibility to issue an executive order banning the firings under 'don’t ask, don’t tell' until the process can play itself out."

McGehee says she’s certain that GetEqual is helping to fill a void, however intransigent the message may seem. “We’ve heard from the top political advisers all the way down to organizational figureheads that we need to have both roles in the movement, from the suites of power to streets of activism,” she says. “Without the street pressure, political insiders would not have made the gains they have.”
Read the entire article.

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