May 31, 2017 at 3:44 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Next weekend, we march
Equality March, gay news, Washington Blade

Equality March founder David Bruinooge last week urged supporters to donate money to support the event. (Photo courtesy Bruinooge)

Organizers of the June 11 Equality March for Unity and Pride, which is being billed as a Washington protest march for LGBTQ+ rights and diversity, have released the names of 18 longtime LGBT movement leaders and activists who will serve as honorary co-chairs and advisers to the march.

Among them are David Mixner, author, civil rights activist and co-organizer of the 2009 LGBT Equality March on Washington, and Cleve Jones, longtime San Francisco LGBT rights advocate, author and creator of the National AIDS Quilt, who worked with Mixner to organize the 2009 LGBT march.

Equality March organizers also released for the first time on May 25 what they called the “official platform for the march,” which the statement says was approved by the march’s 13 national co-chairs.

“The 15 platform points are as follows,” a statement released on May 25 says: “Reproductive Justice, Immigration Justice, International, Indigenous/Two Spirit, Youth, Racial Justice, Income Inequality, Disabilities Rights, Elder Rights, Legislative Issues, Violence, Biphobia, Transphobia, HIV/AIDS, and Religion/Faith.”

Others named as honorary co-chairs and advisers include Jason Collins, the retired gay NBA player; Rev. Troy Perry, founder of the LGBT supportive Metropolitan Community Church; Sarah Ramirez, the actress, signer and activist; and A. Billy S. Jones-Hennin, founder of the D.C. Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gay Men and longtime bi rights activist.

Jason Collins, gay news, Washington Blade

Former NBA player Jason Collins is among 18 honorary co-chairs of next Sunday’s Equality March. (Washington Blade photo by Damien Salas)

Also named were longtime D.C. activists Dr. Imani Woody, founding director and CEO of Mary’s House for LGBT Older Adults; and Earl Fowlkes, CEO of the Center for Black Equity.

“The Honorary Co-Chairs will bring their diversity and inspiring histories of advocacy in the LGBTQ+ liberation movements to bear to elevate the voices of the most underserved within the LGBTQ+ communities,” a statement released by Equality March organizers says.

“Their experience and wisdom will also help guide more than 60 sister marches in cities across the country, on the same day, in solidarity with the March’s mission to support the ongoing struggle for rights and safety for all LGBTQ+ individuals and families, with similar emphasis on queer people of color, transgender, and gender nonconforming communities,” the statement says.

The statement doesn’t say why most of those named to the honorary co-chair and adviser positions had not spoken out publicly in support of the upcoming Equality March sooner than the date the statement was released on May 25 – less than two weeks before the march.

Mixner and Jones have been credited with initiating the 2009 LGBT march following the upsurge in LGBT activism triggered by the 2008 approval by California voters of Proposition 8, which repealed the state’s same-sex marriage law.

Organizers of the June 11 Equality March also announced for the first time last week the route of the march, which will begin near the White House and end on the National Mall. Last week’s announcement called on members of the LGBTQ+ communities and their supporters and loved ones to contribute money to help support the logistics of putting on a national march.

“We are asking that you take a moment to go to our website and make a contribution,” said march founder and one of the 13 co-chairs David Bruinooge.

The full list of the newly announced honorary co-chairs and advisers follows:

• Eric Alva, civil rights activist

• Sen. Toni Atkins, California State Senator

• Kylar Broadus, executive director, Trans People of Color Coalition

• Jason Collins, retired NBA player, NBA Global Ambassador

• The Honorable Tony Coelho, former member of Congress, disability rights advocate, principal author of the Americans with Disabilities Act

• Ruby Corado, founder, Casa Ruby

• Earl Fowlkes, president/CEO, Center for Black Equity, Inc.

• Ted Jackson, disability and LGBTQ+ Advocate and former director of Disability Community Engagement, DNC

• Andrea Jenkins, poet and activist

• Cleve Jones, activist, author

• A. Billy S. Jones-Hennin, founder, DC Coalition

• David Mixner, civil rights activist, author

• Jim Obergefell, plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges

• Rev. Troy Perry, founder, Metropolitan Community Church

• Sarah Ramirez, actress, singer and activist

• Nadine Smith, co-founder and CEO, Equality Florida

• Patrick Smith, International Mr. Leather 2015

• Dr. Imani Woody, founding director and CEO, Mary’s House for Older Adults

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • No mention of Gay/Lesbian rights or equality in the platform. I’m surprised they forgot universal bilingual education, animal rights and children’s suffrage.

  • I had plans to come to this event….even still have a hotel reservation. But I waited and waited to see if it would actually get organized or not and saw nothing until this. We do not do ourselves any favors by failing to plan ahead to get participation at the highest levels possible for such events. Maybe this should have happened in October like most of the big ones in the past. National Coming Out Day makes a statement. Since I didn’t hear anything substantive, I made other plans.

  • Point #1, “Reproductive Justice”? Definitely kick off the platform with something utterly unrelated to LGBTQIA+etc that alienates a significant chunk of those who would otherwise be supportive (yes, believe it or not).

  • I have always marched in the past whenever these events occurred. I’m not going to this one, since it’s not about gay rights.

© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.