Saturday, September 03, 2011

Ugandan Bishop: Urge US State Dept to
Condemn 'Kill the Gays' Bill Before Sept 7th

(Episcopal Bishop Christopher Sonyonjo, in the purple shirt, joins friends in San Francisco on September 2. Credit: Clinton Fein.)

A handful of Bay Area gay activists gathered yesterday at the offices San Francisco Pride on Market Street for an informal chat with Ugandan Bishop Christopher Sonyonjo, who is on a speaking and solidarity tour of North America.

Our local Gays Without Borders group, which has staged several street actions to stop legislation in Uganda mandating the execution of homosexuals, was keen to mobilize again before the legislation is heard in parliament in Kampala on September 7.

We suggested applying pressure on our State Department's representative for African affairs, Johnnie Carson, and the bishop endorsed our proposal. He also requested that we continue to stage public solidarity demonstrations for LGBT and all Ugandans, and the movement for democracy. We agreed to do what we can in our solidarity efforts.

Gays Without Borders member Clinton Fein wrote a short letter we are asking everyone to send to Johnnie Carson before September 7.

Starting today, please either cut-and-paste the text into an email, or draft your own note, and email or fax it to Johnnie Carson. Ask your friends and social networks to also send messages. We also request that you call him on September 6, after the Labor Day Weekend and leave a message with his assistant.

Regardless of where you live across the globe, your voice needs to be heard at the State Department.

After you email him, please share a copy of your letter with me so we can get a sense of how many folks emailed him and use the number of letters in our follow up work with the State Department.

Thank you, for assisting us in this online solidarity campaign. Here is the contact info for Johnnie Carson and the sample letter:
Fax: 1-202-647-6301
Phone: 1-202-647-4440
Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson
United States Department of State
RE: Draconian bill threatens Ugandan democracy <
Dear Secretary Carson,
I am writing with urgency to ask you to forcefully and unequivocally speak out against the draconian bill expected to be considered by Ugandan Parliament on September 7, 2011.
The bill -- frequently referred to and condemned globally as the “Kill the Gays” bill -- would allow the death penalty for anyone who has any previous conviction of homosexuality, is HIV-positive or engages in sexual acts with people of the same sex.
This horrific legislation threatens the most basic civil liberties of not only GLBT Ugandan citizens, but anyone who knows or associates with them too.
As Ambassador to Uganda from 1991 -1994, you must have met many Ugandans, and have more of a vested interest in their well-being than most. This bill threatens the very tenets of democracy and will set a devastating example in surrounding regions.
The Centers for Disease Control presented you with its highest award, "Champion of Prevention Award," for your leadership in directing the U.S. Government's HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in Kenya. I urge you take that mantel one step further and raise your voice loudly enough and urgently enough to make a difference.
The very lives of many Ugandans who want only to live their lives free from harassment, violence and death, hangs in the balance.
Sincerely yours,

No comments: