Badpuppy Gay Today

Monday, 09 March 1998

In Favor of A Millennium March on Washington

UFMCC Report


In February, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC) and the Human Rights Campaign proposed a Millennium March on Washington for Equality to take place in April of 2000 -- the first human rights march of the new millennium. In the ensuing weeks, one voice has been missing from the on-going debate that of the other co- sponsor, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.

Last week, the Rev. Troy D. Perry, a veteran activist with more than 30 years' commitment to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights and Moderator of the UFMCC, explained why he passionately believes in the proposed March on Washington. You are free to reproduce this statement in whole or in part.


* I am excited by the strong grassroots support the proposed Millennium March on Washington is receiving, and pleased with the growing number of local, regional and national organizations which are endorsing the 'first human rights march of the new millennium.'

I warmly welcome the growing number of organizational endorsers, and I also welcome the healthy debate as some of our national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered organizations continue to explore their options for participation in this national human rights event.

As a human rights activist with 30 years of experience in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities, I believe the Millennium March on Washington for Equality in April of 2000 is a vital step in consolidating our gains, mobilizing our community, and taking the next step toward justice in the new millennium.

Why do I believe this? Why a Millennium March?

It's already been too long. Seven years will have passed since the last March on Washington. I believe in the value of demonstrating to our nation the strength of our numbers and the passion of our commitment to justice. If we have learned any lesson, it is how quickly and easily our elected officials forget. It's time to remind our government and our nation that millions of her citizens are still denied equality.

The new millennium presents a strategic opportunity. The dawn of a new millennium, by its very nature, heightens society's sensitivity. Commentators, pundits, the press and society at large will be looking for messages and trends for the new millennium. We have an opportunity at this strategic time to move our message to the forefront.

The year 2000 is a presidential election year. In our society, much of our progress is contingent upon getting the ear, and then the support, of our elected officials. The presence of one million gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons is designed to make our voice heard by Democrat, Republican, Reform and other political party candidates. In addition to Millennium March itself, one million gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Americans will have an opportunity to walk the halls of Congress, to meet with their Congresspersons and Senators and to make a compelling and personal case for equality for all citizens.

It will birth a new generation of activists. Each of our previous marches has served to birth new activists. In fact, as with many g/l/b/t organizations, there are several members of my own staff whose first taste of activism came through the previous Marches on Washington. With two years of lead time, we have an opportunity to become intentional about using this Millennium March to inspire and birth new activists who will continue to work toward the dream of equality for all our citizens.

It will energize our movement. I am convinced that this March, along with the 1999 50 State Initiative, will energize the g/l/b/t rights movement, strengthen all of our organizations, and present untold opportunities for gay human rights, justice and spiritual organizations to grow in terms of members, influence, accomplishments and media access.

The march's theme is focused, simple and understandable. Our society still hasn't got the message. We need look no further than the recent repeal of the equal rights law in Maine to know that the message of simple equality has been neither heard nor embraced. The theme of this Millennium March is simple and designed to build allies. To accomplish the goal of equal human and civil rights, it is imperative that we strategically build allies and support throughout society. One million gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons have an opportunity to call upon our nation and its citizens to live out our nation's creed of "liberty and justice for all." Every element of this march will be focused on the call for equality, and every sub-theme will directly relate to the march's purpose.

For 30 years, I have lent my voice and strength to the work of building a just and equitable society for all of our citizens. Three decades of this work have taught me two lessons: (1) We must use every means at our disposal to get our message out and (2) We must not rest until our nation's highest ideals have transcended promise and become reality for all our citizens.

Through the Millennium March, I will stand with one million of my brothers and sisters, and each of us will proclaim:

This is our country, too.

This is our flag!

This is our constitution!

This is our military!

This is our nation's promise!

This is our contribution to America!

This is our spirituality!

This is our love!

This is our freedom!

This is our life!

This is our dream!

Until that day, I will continue to join hands with my gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered brothers and sisters and with our enlightened allies to raise my voice... to call for justice... to tirelessly work for equality... and, yes, to march on our nation's capital to use every means at our disposal until we, too, are 'free at last." That's why I passionately believe in the Millennium March on Washington for Equality.

1998 BEI; All Rights Reserved.
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