QUEER OWS & NYC GROUPS DEMONSTRATE AT HRC’S GOLDMAN SACHS GALA
In NYC Saturday night, February 4, 2012, approximately 60 LGBT grassroots activists* from a variety of groups united in common cause and elaborate demonstration to tell HRC: You do not speak for us.
Starting at dusk, chanting voices filled Park Avenue as tuxedo-sporting HRC donors arrived at the Waldorf Astoria: “Hey Hey HRC. Where is our Equality?” — and — “Everyone pays their tax. Everyone but Goldman Sachs” – rang out repeatedly targeting the Gala’s corporate honoree.
Up and down the block between 49th and 50th, a catwalk of activists paraded, picket-fashion-show style, sporting a shimmery 15 x 5 banner that read: SEEK FULL EQUALITY, big mylar letters spelling “HELP,” and a huge sign that read: “HRC is in BED with A SACHS Machine”.
Occupy Wall Street locked it all together in what was truly an inspirational convergence of NYC’s grassroots, and beyond.
A solidarity event was held in San Francisco at the Harvey Milk Camera Shop, now an HRC boutique, and motivated activists started petitions on Daily Kos and Change.org demanding HRC withdraw the Sach award.
Blending costumes and poignant cardboard signs, the cacophony energized the night as the Queer OWS Caucus was joined by radical activists from Queer Rising and Queerocracy, and Radical Faeries and Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence brought feathers and magic to the mix.
Dubbed the Guerrilla Potluck, the action also got great advanced media coverage, including blogs like OutTakeonline, and several others, including the Advocate and TimeOut NY who called HRC for comment.
The Queer OWS Caucus had three stated points. 1. It condemned HRC for honoring Sachs, 2. It called upon HRC to seek full equality by 2014, and 3. it demanded HRC create a transparent process, inclusive of the grassroots.
Before the action, HRC issued this pithy retort suggesting its intention to never open the process to grassroots input: “We are fortunate to live in a democracy where everyone’s opinion counts.”
The noblesse oblige attitude was noted by many, and helped fuel the intention, which surrounded the Waldorf as a sign of things to come.
“They can tell us to eat cake all they want, but we want equality by 2014, and that means HRC needs to want it by 2012,” said one of the organizers.
Other chants included: “No HRC or Goldman Sachs! Civil Rights Now!” “Who’s in bed with Goldman Sachs? H R C!” “HRC Your Time is Near. Fake Inclusion Won’t Work Here!”
Food was varied and included: homemade banana bread, vegan morsels, fruit salad and Sweethearts candies.
The police tried to foil everything by illegally closing the public sidewalk and threatening arrest of peaceful law abiding protestors, totally reneging on our agreement with the LGBT police liaison. But we carried on parading around the building, across the street, and even inside the event, briefly.
Please Take the Pledge for Full LGBT Equality (by 2014) (http://bit.ly/the2014pledge).
Join Queer/LGBTIQA2Z OWS Caucus organizing, Sundays at 1pm, or on FB http://on.fb.me/QueerOWS.
* The estimate of attendees was revised from 80 to 60 after further discussion.
Videos and interviews: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD96D5A169D97B663
Brief Action inside the Waldorf: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150789766948636
Change.org HRC/Sachs Petition (independent): http://www.change.org/petitions/hrc-theres-no-honor-for-goldman-sachs
San Fran Solidarity Action (independent): http://www.facebook.com/events/339342696089267/
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