Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pelosi & ENDA:

SF Pride's Call to Action

A chat took place yesterday between leaders of the SF Pride org, Amy Andre and Mikayla Connell, and three activists who were at last Thursday's town hall meeting, Patrick Connors, Stephen Zollman and myself.

The five of us sat in the lobby, behind the staircase, of the gay community center. We were very transparent in respect to everyone passing through the lobby saw our meeting as they walked by, and the lack of doors pleased my sunshine heart.

After we explained our fierce opposition to giving Nancy Pelosi a free ride at Pride, because of her betrayal to our community regarding a vote this year on ENDA, Mikayla and Amy consented to have remarks made before or after Pelosi's taped address.

Since she will introduce Pelosi's address, as president of the Pride board, Mikayla has the honor of delivering a message to the Speaker of the House and all members of Congress, calling for action on ENDA.

We are drafting a bullet point about Pelosi's recent broken promise of a House vote on ENDA this year, and pent up community frustration over the lack of movement on the bill. Another bullet point will call for immediate, measurable and regular public engagement by Pelosi's district staff with the local community, on ENDA, and all the other issues of importance to us.

Amy said that in their thank you note to Pelosi, they would put it writing, at our suggestion, recommending that Pelosi's openly gay district office manager, Dan Bernal, either organize or actively participate in community forums.

She also commented that such advocacy from the Pride folks may not be enough to accomplish the goal we want: Pelosi's top aid in SF finally starting a public discussion with the community, and ENDA pushed by the Speaker. Amy has a point.

And it will take lots of voices to bring about something I believe Harvey Milk would be screaming about, if he were alive today. We have a shameful dearth of regular town hall engagement by every one of our elected friends, gay pols and Gay Inc orgs and executive directors.

From Pelosi to Mark Leno, Tom Ammiano, Bevan Dufty, David Campos, from the political world, to Matt Foreman, Geoff Kors, Kate Kendell, Roger Doughty, Toni Broaddus, and others in the non-profit, professional homosexual realm, we have a collection of vampires. They fear the sunshine and collective force of community forums and engagements.

But there a shining example of how to do better organizing with non-profits, and I want to give it the attention it deserves. The SF Pride folks told us about their open board meetings. That's not a typo. Open board meetings. Held by a gay org. In San Francisco. I will follow up, after the madness of Pride is over, with the organizers about their monthly meetings that anyone can attend.

I look forward to SF Pride making a strong call to action involving Pelosi, our community and ENDA at the Sunday rally in Civic Center Plaza.


Clinton Fein said...

I love you Michael Petrelis!

Stephen said...

awesome...thank you for all that you do around holding our leaders accountable to us, Michael!

Ken Howard, LCSW said...

Thank you, Michael, for doing this! Thanks also for ALL the hard work you do in keeping our community informed. Your efforts are appreciated by more people (readers) than you may ever know! :)