Yesterday saw the eruption of equal rights rallies around the globe in response to the pro-discriminatory Prop 8 victory in California. Rallies come and go, but I have a feeling this is just the beginning of a I’m-mad-as-hell-and-I-won’t-take-it-anymore movement to demand equal rights for ALL citizens, regardless of religion, gender or orientation. I also have a feeling that there is a wave out there that is coming to shore, and here’s why:
One week ago, Amy Balliett of Seattle talked to a friend on the phone and both decided they needed to take some action on the Prop 8 issue–globally. One week later–ONE WEEK!–rallies took place all over the world with thousands of people participating. Estimates in Seattle alone are 6,000 attendees. How did they do it? They used the massive power of social networks and tools on the internet.
They set up a wiki overnight that connected multiple cities and organizers and facilitated info share and networking easily and instantly. They spread the word through twitter, through email, through facebook. Before anyone knew what was happening or how far the news had spread, Saturday was here, and thousands took to the street. Awesome, truly awesome.
And now, we move forward from here. The big message was as simple as it is challenging: talk to one person every day who may not share your opinion about marriage equality. Talk to the person in the cube next to you. Talk to someone who hasn’t really even thought about the issue. Talk openly, not aggressively. Listen. Share. Because at the end of the day, opposition to equal rights is usually more about Fear than it is about hatred. We have to believe that in this world that is getting smaller and more complex every day.
And getting the same rights as everyone else who pays taxes, works, votes, participates, and lives in our neighborhoods and cities and states and country is not too much to ask. It’s the very least we can ask for.