“ADD 4 WORDS”: LGBT Civil Rights Vigil at MLK Jr. Memorial in DC

by Sean A. Watkins

A new LGBT equality campaign backed by over 245 organizations will officially launch with an LGBT Civil Rights Vigil at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in D.C. on Monday, June 30th, at 8:30pm.

The event will have renowned African American faith leaders and LGBT activists, featuring song, prayer, speeches, and the resounding call to the event’s theme, “ADD 4 WORDS“—a call for four words to be added to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Those words are “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”

The event is hosted by The Equality Pledge Network, a new nationwide campaign for full equality supported by over 245 organizations in 44 states, calling for a one-bill, full equality solution.

At the vigil, Reverend Abena McCray, co-founder of Unity Fellowship Church, will perform “Break Every Chain” with choir members from the Howard University School of Divinity. And Rev. Dr. Dennis Wiley, a straight-ally African American leader on LGBT justice from Covenant Baptist UCC will affirm the inter-connectedness of all struggles, as faith leaders proclaim the spiritual imperative to protect LGBT Americans fully and equally from discrimination.

Richard Noble, who walked across America on foot for equality, will present a proclamation for “LGBT Equality Now Day” from Mayor Pougnet of Palm Springs, applauding the 15 organizations in California from LA Pride to the San Francisco LGBT Community Center that support The Pledge for Full LGBT Equality, at the heart of the new campaign.

Dr. Dana Beyer, a recent state Senate candidate in Maryland and a highly respected community member, will speak on behalf of Gender Rights Maryland. And transgender rights advocate, Consuella Lopez, from the D.C. Mayor’s LGBT Advisory Board, will speak to the horrific suffering of transgender Americans, from homelessness to suicide, as we lift up pictures of fallen LGBT children to the song Echos by Rev. McCray.

Cindy Bray, Treasurer of LGBT Democrats of Virginia, and Dr. Robin H. Gorsline, of People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, will bring the activist spirit and spiritual determination to bear. And Rev. Wes Jamison, also of the United Church of Christ, will offer a special prayer written for the occasion.

“All believers in equality and justice for LGBT Americas are urged to gather as we set a tone of inclusive and loving-kindness for the campaign ahead,” said Todd Fernandez, campaign manager for The Equality Pledge Network.

“Our suffering requires we unite immediately to outlaw anti-LGBTQ abuse, to end the judgment, and to welcome all LGBT souls in community embrace. Join us.”

Photo via flickr user hullz