Friday, June 26, 2009

SF Gays Hit $10,000 Mark
or Iraqi LGBT Refugees

(May 17 solidarity rally at Harvey Milk Plaza. Gary VA is on the far right, with mic.)

I was wrong and I publicly apologize to Gary Virginia, community organizer and miracle worker. Last month I accused him of being a "ka-razee ka-ween" when he told me over tea at Cafe Flore that he and Gays Without Borders/SF would raise ten thousand dollars for gay Iraqi refugees in Beirut. He's fond of saying I shot him the strongest "no" look.

Gary has stopped at nothing to hit the $10,000 mark and yesterday, we found out from our colleague, Jeff Cotter of Rainbow World Fund that after tallying up the money raised at Gary's party at Cafe Flore in Friday, online donations and old-fashioned checks via snail mail, we were at approximately $10,100 in funds received since our campaign launched in May.

That money goes to the Lebanese LGBT and HIV advocacy group Helem, which helps with housing and the welfare needs of Iraqi gay refugees in Beirut. Tax-deductible donations are still being accepted, via the Rainbow World Fund.

Damn good work, Mr. Virginia! Here is the note he sent this morning:
Hey Jeff and Michael ... I just read your notes re hitting our $10,000 GOAL and am in tears here at home. Tears of joy in recognition of our unlimited power to create our own reality and tears of compassion for the Iraqi gays still in need.

I can't think of a better Pride 2009 gift than for us to have worked together on this noble cause and reach our first set of goals: to raise awareness, move people to action, get Pelosi to make a formal statement, get the State Department to address the issue, get the Board of Supes and State Assembly to make formal demands for investigations and pressure the Iraqis and US occupiers to intervene to enforce the Iraq Constitution ... and to raise $10,000 for verifiable relief. WOW!

I accepted a Heritage of Pride Community Award last night at the Pride Media Party and although we were instructed that speaking was not being asked in our acceptance, to my surprise Lt. Dan Choi presented the first award to me and basically handed me the mic by mistake.

I took the opportunity to say thanks and remind people of our IRAQI LGBT effort and gave the URL for donations. People cheered enthusiastically (and I was the only awardee who spoke all night). Also, in my bio for the media packets, our Iraqi campaign was cited.

So thank you both ... we have much to be proud of (and thankful for) this year.

Now back to work on my two events on Saturday!!!!!! We'll celebrate our $10K goal later.

Gary ;)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We should have Gary organize the protesting and money boycott of the dnc