Friday, February 12, 2010

The Right Side of History

I wanted to tell you about one of my former students, Brian Elliot, who founded The Right Side of History Campaign a couple of months ago. What prompted Brian to create that organization was the passing of Proposition 8 in California last year that banned gay marriage.

The LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) community still suffers from a number of discriminations in this country and the question of marriage is just the tip of the iceberg.

Brian has chosen to target the straight community to help spread the word about those discriminations and bring about change eventually. He drew an analogy with the civil rights movement in the US in the 60’s when the force that made the difference and caused the Johnson administration to pass sweeping civil rights legislation was not so much the activists or the African-American community (despite the obvious leadership of Martin Luther King or Robert Kennedy) but rather the non-militant white community who got absolutely disgusted and ashamed of seeing on the evening news footage of local police treating black protesters like animals in Selma and other places in the South.

Brian thought that the same rationale could be applied to the non-militant straight community regarding LGBT issues. If the outrage about unfair treatment of LGBT folks on many levels came from straight people, the probability of successful change would be much higher.

Straight Talks for Equality is an initiative launched by the Right Side of History Campaign. As its name indicates, it is about straight folks having conversations about what equality means to them and why some portions of the population, including LGBT people, are still discriminated against today.

Brian has relied on social networks such as Facebook to spread the word towards young people who constitute the Right Side of History’s target age category. He launched a group on Facebook called Give Brian Equality and in just four weeks over 19,000 supporters have become fans.

Brian and his team are working on their web site which does need improvements right now and they have already completed their business plan and raised about $30k.

Go Brian!! A lot of social justice issues are unresolved in the US and elsewhere around the world and it is great news that someone as gifted as Brian Elliot who could do pretty much whatever he wants in the corporate world and make a bundle of money has chosen to take on issues that are not necessarily popular with all Americans or figure prominently on their radar screens.

No comments:

Post a Comment