Wednesday, October 22, 2008

African Americans Speak Out Against Prop 8

MadProfessah speaks!

From left to right, Noah's Arc actor Doug Spearman, Reverend Eric Lee (President of the Southern Christian leadership Conference), Reverend Vanessa Mackenzie (Minister, Church of the Advent), Reverend Art Cribbs (Pastor, San Marino United Church of Christ) and Willie Pelote (Vice President, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees).

Mad Professah (in my capacity as Board President of the Barbara Jordan/Bayard Rustin Coalition) was the lead speaker and emcee for the event. Reporter Karen Ocamb and sent around this summary of what the speakers had to say:

Rev. Eric Lee:

“The Southern Christian Leadership Council is the only organization
founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The entire core of SCLC is
about fighting for justice for all people and against discrimination…
As a result of that – this issue about marriage equality requires
that we speak out against this proposition because anytime any group
of people are denied the right afforded to another group of people,
it is an issue of the violation of civil rights. And we need to be
clear about that.

The difficulty is that you have many who are considered to be clergy,
considered to be Christian, that are not understanding the rights of
people for free choice. And to have the same benefit that any other
people are afforded. The disappointment is that there is an attempt
for people to impose a narrow theological view on relationships upon
every body in every situation. And no one has the right to do that.

So because of that, I, along with the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference – I also spoke with Rev. Lawson who is one of the foremost
theorists and teachers of non-violent opposition to injustice – who
adamantly said this is the right thing for us to do. So we stand on
your side, we will stand with you until justice is rendered until you
are ensured that your rights will never be denied by any group of
people for any discriminatory reason. So God bless you and I’m with

Rev. Art Cribbs:

“….. If I simply based my decision on television commercials, I would
be for Proposition 8. But those commercials lie. The information
that’s being presented on television, even from a law professor at
Pepperdine University, are all based on lies, not facts.

First of all, this is not about children and protecting children. The
language in Proposition 8 that is put on the ballot has to do with
marriage between a man and a woman. I’m opposed to Proposition 8
because to put discriminatory language in the California
constitution….(garbled on my tape, sorry)…Although we have
discriminated against persons because they’re Chinese, Japanese,
Latinos, we have not put discriminatory language in the state
constitution. And in the 21st century, it is not a move forward to
begin putting discriminatory language in the state constitution.
So I oppose Proposition 8 on that.

I personally oppose Proposition 8 because I know what it feels like
to have someone else tell me who I should be married to. I know the
pain of that. I know the suffering that comes with that. I do not
believe it is right for a third party detached and not involved
dictating who should love whom and how that relationship should be
formed. I oppose Proposition 8 on its face.

And then, finally – theologically. My faith tells me to treat people
the way I want to be treated. To do no harm to anyone. I have heard
people say, ‘I am hurt by the language of discrimination that is
being proposed for the California state constitution.’ If don’t want
to feel the pain, then I am obligated not to impose pain on someone
else. And so I oppose Proposition 8.

The United Church of Christ opposes Proposition 8 ….there is no
reason for any one to support Proposition 8 if they have a concern
for others and if they do not want someone to dictate their
relationship – that it is inappropriate to legislative the dictation
on someone else.”

Rev. Vanessa Mackenzie (who’s from South Africa):

“I moved to this country eight years ago and I am horrified that now
they want to put into the constitution that it is right to
discriminate….We are all human, created in the image of God and all
of us, in our own unique ways, reflect that image. And if we say yes
to Proposition 8, we are distorting and destroying the image of God
in our gay brothers and sisters.”

Willie Pelote:

“….Let’s be clear. What Prop 8 is designed to do is to take away the
rights that gays and lesbian have worked for over the years and
should be guaranteed under the constitution, not denied…

[It’s important to] get word out on how people should vote on Prop 8
– it s no on Prop 8 . it’s discriminatory. Its un-American, it’s
unpatriotic. It’s against the will of the people in the great state
of California. And let’s think of the Mormon Church – and if God was
given the right to protect everyone of his children and if you’re
against that, you’re against god and we’re against you….

Prop 8 is bad for California…Prop 8 is about outsourcing people’s
rights and discriminating against them in everyday life. The American
Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees – the largest
public union in this country – and 175,000 strong in the state of
California – will stand with you until justice prevails. We will
never, ever give up and allow someone to put in the constitution
discriminatory langue against anyone in our society.”

Doug Spearman:

“….We can now get married in the state of California. But we have to
be vigilant and protect that right. And be constantly awake and aware
and fight for something the state constitution is built to protect.
They want to dismantle that in order to take away something from us.

When the Supreme Court authored its opinion, it effectively wiped
away not just discrimination against gays and lesbians. They wiped
away discrimination in the state of California in a way that it had
ever been addressed before. They did a brave and beautiful thing,
making our lives safe making our lives accountable, our lives worthy,
making our lives important in this state. We held up a light in
California that shines on the entire nation. We held up a light that
is a beacon for truth and honor and dignity and respect so that every
other state has a responsibility to turn towards or turn away from….
This isn’t just the right to marry….this is a civil right. It is the
beginning. So if they’re going to take away this right, what right
other rights are they going to take away?"

Asked about the concern that African Americans who show up to vote
for Barack Obama, especially young people who haven’t voted before,
will vote Yes on Prop 8 – the participants all said that the youth
must be told that “Barack Obama would vote No on Proposition 8 – so
you should, too
The event happened at the Lucy Florence Coffeehouse in Leimert Park near Crenshaw and 43rd Street in South (Central) Los Angeles.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for including their quotes. I hope this inspires others in the Black community to vote NO.

Reuven said...

BRAVO for these folks! Now get the word out. There's a lot of confusion in the African American community.

Focus on the RACIST LITURGY from the out-of-state folks who are behind this.

This is a modern-day inquisition! The fact is, most Californians belong to Churches that are AGAINST proposition 8. See

Except these churches are too Moral and Ethical to enter politics. They were caught off-guard by out-of-state zealots.

Anonymous said...

Mad Professah,

I am working on a documentary short for a film class on Prop 8 from a people of color perspective (clearly against the passage of 8!)and wondered if I could use the pic of you speaking and surrounded by No on 8 signs as a quick photo clip (with of course credit to you). Thanks!


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