Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2922 Days (8 Years and 2 Days): When Will Coretta Scott King Be Heard?

And, today, I want to reissue this appeal once again. I am doing so now in light of continued discussion (here and here and here) of Mr. Obama's hesitancy to fulfill his promises to address injustice and denial of rights to gay citizens.

As African-American blogger Pam Spaulding has recently
noted, Mr. Obama's silence on gay lives and gay issues following his election hurts the president's own attempts to address homophobia in the black community, even as polls indicate that, in New York, black voters are opposed to gay marriage 57% to 35%, while white voters favor gay marriage 47% to 45%. At the same time, African-American pastors in New York reject their African-American governor David Paterson's inistence that gay rights and African-American rights are linked, and reject the witness of African-American leaders including Coretta Scott King, Bayard Rustin, and Mildred Loving that the movement for gay rights is an extension of the movement for African-American rights.

And so, once again, my appeal for action:

On 8 June 2001, Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., issued the following call for a national campaign against homophobia in the black community:

Homophobia is still a great problem throughout America, but in the African-American community it is even more threatening. This is an enormous obstacle for everyone involved in AIDS prevention, treatment and research. … We have to launch a national campaign against homophobia in the black community.

On 20 January 2009, the United States inaugurated its first African-American president, Barack Obama. Immediately following his inauguration, our promising new leader activated a federal website outlining
an agenda for important new programs in the area of civil rights, including LGBT rights.

It is now 119 days from the inauguration of President Obama. It is 2922 days (8 years and 2 days) after Coretta Scott King called for a national campaign against homophobia in the black community.

As a member of the gay community who has long supported and worked for the civil rights of my African-American brothers and sisters, I call on the African-American community to respond to the appeal of Dr. King’s widow.

As I have stated in
a posting on this topic, “The need is great. And it is growing. Where is the intent to address that need, as Barack Obama becomes president?”

Who will hear Coretta Scott King’s words and respond to them? Problems within the African-American community should be addressed first and foremost from within the community. The African-American community does not need mentors from outside instructing people of color about how to carry on their business.

When will African-American leaders, in this historic moment in which our nation has an African-American president, take seriously Coretta Scott King’s call for a national campaign against homophobia in the black community?

The need is great. It is now 119 days after the inauguration of President Obama. It is now 2922 days (8 years and 2 days) after Coretta Scott King issued her challenge to the black community.

I continue to commit myself to addressing and eradicating racism in the white community at large, and in the white gay community, as well.

When will African-American leaders respond to Coretta Scott King’s call to address black homophobia in a national campaign?