Thursday, April 9, 2009

Equality & Justice Day – “We have a come a long way – but we still have a long way to go!”

Below is the next in our series of E&J stories. Register for E&J Day now -- There are just TWO DAYS left to sign up to be guaranteed a seat on a bus and a visit with your elected officials.

Greg Lewis, SAGE Upstate, Syracuse:

I would recommend that everyone in the LGBT community attend Equality and Justice Day in Albany on April 28, 2009. This will be my third year, and every time my partner and I go it gets more exciting -- mainly because each time we visit with our legislators it feels like we are getting closer and closer to our ultimate goals.

Greg Lewis (fifth from right), his partner Scott Milner (holding sign) and others from SAGE Upstate at Equality & Justice Day last year.

I think back to when I first came out at the Woodstock Rock Concert on August 18, 1969, and really marvel at the progress we have made in the gay community since the Stonewall riots in June of 1969. In those days, American gays and lesbians in the faced a legal system that was anti-homosexual. The last years of the 1960s were very contentious, as many social movements were active, including the Civil Rights Movement, the counterculture of the 1960s, the women’s movement, anti-Vietnam war demonstrations and of course the new “gay movement.” These influences served as catalysts for the Stonewall riots.

I can remember going to the gay bars in Syracuse, NY in the early 70s and the police would come in the bars, block off the front door and demand identification from all the patrons. While they were checking your ID, there were nasty and demeaning remarks being made by the police on the direction of the police chief. How could we even think about getting married when we couldn’t even go out and drink with our friends peacefully without harassment?

We have come a long way, “baby!” But we still have a long way to go!

Please join our contingency from Syracuse and from all around New York State to converge on Albany and make our voices heard to our legislators. There is power in numbers and you will feel extremely fulfilled having participated in this historic and important event. See you there.

Want to join us in Albany for Equality & Justice Day? Click here for more information or to register. Sign up now – the deadline to register to be guaranteed transportation and a legislative visit is April 10 – just two days away!

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