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LGBT HERO | Frank Voci: White Knot Marches for Equality

October 03, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Heroes Project

whiteknotAs part of our Heroes project for October’s LGBT History Month, we are delighted that Frank Voci accepted our invitation to write a blog about why he started White Knot for Equality. You might remember seeing actors from the movie Milk wearing white knots at the Academy Awards.  If you are attending the National Equality March, we encourage you to wear a White Knot not only for yourself but also for others who could not attend. And make a few extra knots to hand out and make new friends. Why knot?

White Knot Marches for Equality

By: Frank Voci

The National Equality March on October 11 has been a short-time in planning, but a long-time coming.  Much like my own involvement in the new Equal Rights Movement.

I had always been a donor, but never an activist.  Who had the time?!

But when Prop 8 in California passed, my activist gene was activated. I needed to do something, so I started what has become a national awareness campaign called White Knot for Equality After noticing the post-election street protests dying down, I realized we needed a way to keep the conversation going in our homes, work, places of worship, schools.  I wanted to create an easy, universal way of staying visible in everyday life.  Ribbon campaigns are nothing new, and as I searched for an easy to make symbol that was unique, I happened to tie a piece of ribbon in a knot.  It clicked.  Everyone should be able to tie the knot.

That simple act–making and wearing a White Knot–quickly became for many others who had never been active a way of instantly organizing to fight for equality. Every day I see the power of visibility, the importance of speaking out, and the value of organizing. And that’s why I am marching in Washington DC and urging the thousands of White Knot wearers across the country to join me.

The National Equality March will be an incredibly visible event that will reach millions through the media coverage. But more importantly, the March is the launching pad for the next stage of grassroots organizing that will with everyone’s great effort unite our individual and state-centric struggles in a single powerful movement for full equality. What do we want?  Equal protection under the law in all matters governed by civil law in all fifty states. This is more than a philosophy.  It’s a demand.  And there is a tremendous amount of work to be done to achieve it.

That work is being done right now. Groups around the country have started organizing in all 435 Congressional Districts. We will win equality by demanding it directly of our lawmakers.  LGBT people and our allies are already working together for the common goal of complete equality. This is why the March is so important. It is the impetus to set up a powerful network of local organizers.  As Cleve Jones has said, we will think Federally, but act locally.

How can you be a part of this? If you can, organize groups to travel to DC for the March.  At home, start organizing in your local community or look for organizations that already exist, many of which have set up Facebook Pages.

And of course, you can wear a White Knot to the March and wherever you go in your community to show your support for equality and hopefully spark some conversation.

White Knot for Equality is a non-profit organization devoted to fighting for marriage equality and overall equality for LGBT people. The White Knot symbol has quickly become the symbol for marriage equality and can be found in more than 1300 cities around the world (all 50 states and 25 other countries). Our goal is to create conversations that need to happen to change hearts and minds.

Gearing up for the National Equality March: 11 Things You Can Do.

September 28, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Commentary, Featured, iQreport, Thought of the Gay

NEmThe  National Equality March is just around the calendar corner, Sunday, October 11, 2009, in Washington D.C. Actually, there are events planned all weekend.

We know that there are many people who are going to the march. We also know that there are many people who would like to go to the Equality March but can’t. Either the timing is bad, they can’t afford it, or it’s too difficult to make the trip.

There are still ways that you can help. This message is for everyone, gay or straight. In honor of the eleventh of October, which is also Coming Out day, we have eleven ideas for you. Because ten ideas is so straight.

  1. Send a donation to Equality Across America where your donation is tax-deductible.  or your local Equality Now group.
  2. Subsidize a friend who wants to go. We at Jaysays have supported three people. Don’t know anyone? Donate to “Give Up Your Morning Coffee for LGBT Equality”
  3. If money is a problem, there are many groups offering low cost transportation and lodging. Look at the Equality Across America webpage. Find a friend to share a room with.  Get a group together and drive to Washington DC.  Check out Priceline, Hotwire or other sites known for cheap rates.
  4. If you live near a university or in a larger city, check out your local LGBT groups. In Madison, Wisconsin, for example, students can take a bus round trip to Washington, DC for $60.
  5. Save money by being more frugal. You can do it! Bring a lunch, give up your latte, don’t go out to dinner or the movies, no new CDs or video games, take those unused items to a consignment shop, or sell things on Craigslist or eBay.
  6. Tell your parents, significant other or friends, including your Facebook friends, that going to the Equality March is what you would like for Christmas or your birthday instead of a present. What better present can you get than the kind that gives all people equality?
  7. If you are going, offer to put the name of someone who cannot go on your sign. Represent others who cannot attend. Better yet, wear a White Knot for each person you are representing.
  8. Write to the president, your Senators and Congressional Representatives before the March, telling them what equal rights means to you.  You can do this by email and it is free. Also contact your state and local representative asking for equal rights in your state.
  9. Write to your local news stations and national news stations and ask them to cover the March.  Most networks have a website with a contact button.
  10. If you are at a college campus, participate in the Chalk Messages Project. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper before the march. Yes, people do read newspapers, especially people who do not read the Internet.
  11. Speak up whenever you hear someone make a degrading comment about LGBT individuals. Not just for this march. Do it year round. Because silence equals agreement. It’s really easy to say, in a nice voice, “I’m sure you don’t mean that because it could hurt someone. I have gay friends and it hurts me.”  You may not be able to change the world. But you can change the world within your reach.

We hope to see you at the march, but even if you can’t go, you can make a difference.