Wednesday, July 20, 2005

to march or not to march.... News has an article weighing the pros and cons of holding another national March on Washington (or wherever) for queer rights.
Sure, they're the old-school-activist way to "galvanize the troops" so to speak (please excuse the militaristic metaphor. I apologize.), but are they still effective today? Or has the political climate changed so much that we need an entirely different approach?

The article includes the opinions of six influential leaders, including:
-Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), who has represented the 4th district of Massachusetts since his election in 1980. (I believe he's gay, but I'm not sure.)
"But standing on the Mall and listening to speeches, carrying signs, etc., has literally zero impact in this regard."
-Robin Tyler, who initiated the 1979 and 2000 marches on Washington.
" A grassroots march with an unyielding commitment to LGBT equality will be a huge step forward for our community."
-Keith Boykin, a NYT best-selling author and former Clinton White House aide.
"If you march too often, the events lose their impact, but if you don't march enough, you may miss an opportunity to mobilize a whole new generation of activists. And maybe that's the best reason to have a march in the first place."
-Lorri Jean, CEO of the LA Gay and Lesbian Center.
"So, rather than spend millions of dollars and hours organizing a national march with nebulous goals, I'd rather we spent the time and energy figuring out how best to protect and advance our gains where most of the action is these days: at the state and local level."
-Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign.
"Marches have the ability to show a high volume of concerned citizens in one place. Still, too often people don't connect the marchers with their neighbors, their co-workers, their sons and daughters. We are those people, and it doesn't take a trip to Washington to make that point; it takes an honest conversation."
-The Rev. Troy Perry, founder and moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, who has been involved in the organization of every LGBT march.
"Here's the thing about which I am even more confident: If and when another national march does take place in the United must fully represent the broad diversity of our LGBT communities."

To march or not?
I really have my doubts that occupying the National Mall and screaming at the top of our lungs about these issues that we're passionate about will actually make anyone in the U.S. government listen. It seems like they've gotten very, very good at ignoring the masses of people who converge on the Hill when they do something that pisses the rest of us off.
Look at the March for Women's Lives last spring. We had a record turnout for a political demonstration in Washington, DC. And what did it accomplish? Evidently nothing, given the latest nomination to the Supreme Court which will inevitably overturn Roe v Wade.

So the question now is:
What can we do then, if national marches are no longer effective? What can be our new strategy?
"Think globally, act locally."
But "act" doing what exactly?

No comments: