Sunday, October 26, 2008

In Love and Solidarity

Ginnen i atungo'-hu Ahimsa:

Dear friends, loved ones, and colleagues,

I am writing this email to straight allied and queer people of color to economically and democratically stand in anti-racist solidarity with marriage equality and family equality movements in the U.S., as our rights as brown folk in this country are under attack.

As many of you know, this November's election is very important. For the first time, I have donated massively to political campaigns. I earn less than $13,000 a year and this year, over a series of months, I have donated $500 to the Obama campaign. His presidency, to me and to many of us, represents hope for significant positive change in the economy, civil rights, the environment, and the ending of war. I hope we can continue to actively and economically support his candidacy and engage in an electoral turnaround on the Congressional and more local fronts.

I am writing today because, as some of you know, there are amendments in three states -- California, Florida, and Arizona -- that would outlaw same gender marriage and perhaps also make illegal domestic partnerships and any form of recognition of same gender couples, including the access to see your loved one in the hospital and receive health benefits. There is also a ballot measure in Arkansas that would outlaw queer people from adopting or becoming foster parents, in a time when so many of our children of color need loving homes.

I am writing to ask you mobilize against these initiatives in two ways: 1) donate money to the campaigns against these initiatives, and 2) to mobilize the communities of color of which you are a part to vote against these initiatives in the states they are occurring.

As a queer person of color, these Euro-colonial amendments would take away the rights of people of color in this country to have our relationships and families recognized and afforded basic legal protection. This is a civil rights issue about equality for people of color, supported by Julian Bond of the NAACP --
-- and various queer and straight allied people of color civil rights organizations around the country, who recognize this is not a religious issue, but a civil rights issue.

We remember that our ancestors, Indigenous, African, and immigrant were enslaved and denied through various laws the right to marry, because we were seen as unhuman, heathens, merely property and labor. We remember that our ancestors were denied entry into the country and residence in the country as full families due to xenophobic laws that only wanted single workers that would stay temporarily and be worked to death. We remember that until 1967, in various parts of the U.S. it was illegal for our multiracial ancestors to legally marry, due to anti-miscegenation laws that tried to keep white blood pure, white wealth separate, and to prevent our communities of color from working together, with each other and with anti-racist whites. We remember how our traditional honoring of relationships and ways of forming extended, women-led, and same gender families were outlawed, killed, written out of our memories by racist laws. And we remember the millions of families ripped apart by war, genocide, boarding schools, colonial occupation of our landbase, and enslavement.

Coretta Scott King, may she rest in peace, was a tremendous supporter of LGBT civil rights and strongly supported marriage equality for same gender couples.

Mildred Loving, Indigenous Rappahannock/African American civil rights activist, of the Loving vs. Virginia civil rights Supreme Court Case that made interracial marriage legal in the U.S., may she rest in peace, supported marriage equality for all, and understood and supported the links between the civil rights of interracial couples and same gender couples.

To see more on these connections between interracial and same gender marriage equality, and a further interview with Julian Bond of the NAACP, please watch the following video from the National Black Justice Coalition and Faith in America:

It is important that we stand together as people of color to say that we will not allow our families to be further divided and basic civil rights be denied to our people. This is a time for straight people of color who call themselves allies to mobilize and walk their talk, and for queer people of color to claim our futures and our rights.

We can see hope in the victories of Massachusetts, California, and Connecticut where I can live and raise a family equally with that of my neighbors, and in the sovereign right of Native Nations such as the Coquille Nation in Oregon to officially legislate same gender marriage equality as a part of our sovereignty, despite what colonial settler state laws may say about our right to live and survive as Native peoples.

Right now, unfortunately, it looks like the racist, colonial Proposition 8 will pass in California unless significant money is raised and voters are convinced to come out and vote against it. This decision may very well affect the future of my chances to form a family in this country, as it is estimated that if Prop 8 passes, we may have to wait another 20-30 years before marriage equality can occur in the U.S., as what happens in California often affects the rest of the country. In 30 years, I will be 64. I would like to think I could be legally married and have protection for my partner and children before then.

I ask that each and every one of you donate as much as you can to the coalitions working against these propositions in CA, FL, and AZ, that you vote against them if you live in those states, and that you strongly encourage other people of color you know to do the same.

To support the fight for marriage equality, please vote against Proposition 8 in California, and please donate via the coalition website here:
I have donated $500, in addition to my support for Barack, to the campaign against this initiative. (Again, I earn less than $13,000 a year.) And donations can be as small as $5. Every bit helps, and currently the racist conservative forces in this country have vastly outraised us in money. The next few weeks are crucial.

To support the fight for marriage equality, please vote against Amendment 2 in Florida, and please donate via the coalition website here:

To support the fight for marriage equality, please vote against Proposition 102 in Arizona, and please donate via the coalition website here:

To support the fight for family equality and to keep same gender adoption and foster parenting legal in the state of Arkansas, please vote against Act 1 in Arkansas, and please donate via the coalition website here:

Thank you for taking the time to read this and to mobilize in support of equal rights for _all_ people of color and families of color in the U.S.

In love and solidarity,

Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán

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