Martha Knutzen, Co-Chair Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club

Martha Knutzen, Co-Chair Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club

Alice members have an excellent opportunity to learn more about Civil Rights Leader Bayard Rustin. On August 21st, we will join the Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition in sponsoring a presentation at the Commonwealth Club featuring author and scholar Michael Long, who recently released the book “I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin’s Life in Letters”.

Bayard Rustin was a brilliant strategist and organizer who understood that the fight for Civil Rights for all Americans was at a critical moment in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He used his skills to organize people through the principles of non-violence to win key victories in the civil rights movement. He effectively crafted the messages spoken by leaders to continually move the civil rights agenda forward. He was the principle organizer of the August 28, 1963 March on Washington.

Yet, because Rustin was gay, he has never been properly acknowledged for being a key leader of civil rights and labor rights movements. Certainly, members of the LGBT community have worked to inform us of his important work. Hopefully, Michael Long’s book will improve our understanding of Rustin’s work.

This year, LGBT activists must all pay back Bayard Rustin and contribute their time to re-electing Barack Obama. Precisely because a genius like Rustin was not acknowledged, each one of us, because we are now living our lives openly as LGBT citizens, must step up and ensure Barack Obama is reelected. The President promised and delivered on most of the key issues facing our community, from repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to supporting unequivocally our right to marry. We must understand, in the same way that Bayard Rustin did, how critical it is to reelect the President at this time. The events from 1950 to 2012 are all part of the same arc of history. We must play our part to ensure there is a stronger future for the next generation of LGBT people.

Alice B. Toklas will use its website and special election news blasts to inform all our members how they can be involved in the Obama For America campaign. It’s very easy to get involved in a phone bank to contact voters in swing states, travel to identify voters and participate in get out the vote efforts.

Start today by going to barackobama.com/volunteer. Just sign up and you will be contacted on how to get involved.

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