Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights

Is a national action happening this week, organized by Soulforce and Atticus Circle. Seven Straight Nights encourages straight folks to speak up for GLBT rights in their community and educated their communities about GLBT issues.

Our church is holding a vigil on Wednesday.  The advance press has been good, with the closest major paper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram picking up the story.

The mission statement of Seven Straight Nights (from their web site):

Tens of thousands of heterosexual people believe in equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Americans. Many people in this growing and largely untapped force struggle to find meaningful ways to be involved in the peaceful pursuit of LGBT equality. They want to do more than write their elected officials or simply vote against a hateful measure. These allies have been without a venue for direct activism to collectively and visibly demonstrate their commitment to equality for their gay friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors. Until now.

Atticus Circle and Soulforce are pleased to introduce Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights, a national event that will provide straight Americans with opportunities to do justice and motivate new allies to stand up and be counted for equal rights.

Seven Straight Nights will consist of a coordinated campaign of overnight actions led by straight allies. It will sweep across capital cities throughout the nation during the week of September 14 – 20, 2008, gaining momentum in the national media as more states participate in the event.

The action will be coordinated by a family, individual, or group (such as a church or student organization) who become the face of Seven Straight Nights in their state. Whether the Action Leader is a single person or a group, the focus of the action, and the media coverage, will be the story of the Action Leader’s personal decision to speak out on behalf of LGBT equality. Depending on the state, the leaders will either offer thanks for the state’s positive policy record or issue a call to action on pertinent issues such as hate crimes, employment discrimination, or marriage equality. The action may take place at the governor’s mansion, capitol building, courthouse, or any suitable location that resonates with the issues.

LGBT activists will play supporting roles in each state, yet the front lines will be comprised of straight men and women, many of whom may be taking their first public stand for LGBT equality. In the months leading up to the action, Action Leaders will recruit others to stand with them at the action in shifts throughout the night. Participants will frame their involvement in terms of personal motivations, such as supporting friends and family members or acting on core values.

By mobilizing straight Americans, Seven Straight Nights will have a lasting impact on two levels. In the states where actions are held, a network of activists, who have experienced the power of standing up for what they believe in, will be poised to continue to act to achieve equal rights. The database we develop as part of Seven Straight Nights will allow us to mobilize and grow this network going forward. Media attention at the local, state and national levels will issue a call for our political and religious leaders to end discrimination against LGBT people in all its forms and provide every American the rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

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