Tuesday, June 16, 2009

FMF Interns at Equality CA: Working to win marriage back

As a part of our summer experience at FMF, the West Coast interns are taking on challenges on the marriage equality front. FMF is a leading feminist voice in LGBTQ issues and is partnering with many organizations fighting for equal rights to win marriage equality back in California. To kick off our involvement, the interns of the Los Angeles office headed across town to work with our partners Equality California and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

We arrived bright and early on Thursday at the Silver Lake headquarters of Equality California. Once inside we encountered a hardworking group of activists preparing to canvas the Los Angeles PRIDE festival, a Los Angeles celebration of LGBTQ identity, and raise support for the upcoming battle to repeal Proposition 8 in California.

As many of you know, California continues to be a battle ground for marriage equality.Devastated by the most recent upholding of Proposition 8, we were all incredibly excited to be involved in the efforts to get an initiative guaranteeing marriage equality on the 2010 or 2012 California ballot and mobilize voters to support marriage equality.

Amy Mello and Moof Mayeda, of Equality CA and the Gay and Lesbian Task Force respectively, explained that in preparation for the fight to win marriage for all, organizers planned to approach PRIDE as a rich recruiting point for potential supporters and volunteers to the newest campaign. The recruits will be a part of the newest initiative of the campaign to “Win Marriage Back” by going into areas of California that voted against same sex marriage and starting a dialogue about what drove the voter’s decision.

This effort and the information collected will be an integral part of the new campaign. This effort to personally connect with voters that may have been deemed “unreachable” in the previous election has huge potential for bringing awareness and raising the consciousness of the Californian constituency.

In addition to volunteering for canvassing efforts, Equality California is encouraging people to volunteer with the campaign, donate money to fund organizers, and pledge to have conversations with their family and friends about the right of all people to marry in the California.

We were immediately put to work in the center conference room and began stuffing bright red bags with the inscription “‘I DO’ Support the Freedom to Marry” for dispersal at PRIDE that weekend. Each bag held information on how supporters can get involved with the Campaign to Win Marriage Back along with an invitation to the Anniversary of Marriages event that will bring together faith leaders, same sex couple and their allies and honor the one year anniversary of the same sex couples who married last year when marriage was legal in California.

Some of us were assigned to the phones and after a quick orientation we increased the number of volunteers for the PRIDE canvassing by 10% in only a few hours!

We were awed by the enthusiasm and hardworking team of a fellow equal rights organization! Our new friend and Equality California staff member, Milton, was so impressed with our skills that he promised to be an honorary FMF intern and join us at our office for the day.

We look forward to working with Equality California in the future and encourage all our feminist counterparts to get involved in local fights for marriage equality!!

-Sierra Dwyer and Julia DeLuca, FMF Choices Campus Leadership Interns

No comments: