“This land was made for you and me”: More on the Albany NOM rally and counter-protest

July 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm 54 comments

(Danny Segura, Courage’s Outreach Coordinator, shares a reflection piece below on what happened in Albany, New York, on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Providence, Rhode Island, rally and counter-protest is happening right now. More to come… — Eden)

By Danny Segura

Yesterday, the LGBT activist community provided yet another example of a creative and customized response to the NOM tour.

Every stop so far has been creative, of course — from Augusta, Maine to Manchester, New Hampshire, to yesterday in Albany, New York. LGBT activists in Maine opted not to be in the same space, but inhabit their own positive and healthy space (a strong response). LGBT activists in New Hampshire shared the same space with the NOM rally but stayed back (a strong response as well). And yesterday LGBT activists in New York held a positive alternative marriage picnic and then surrounded, literally, the NOM demonstration with a quiet canopy of rainbow umbrellas held up by stoic and strong second-class LGBT demonstrators (scroll down for pictures).

The Albany event was powerful. It was a brave response amid uncomfortable circumstances for both sides. As indicated by the pictures, the LGBT demonstrators were just a couple of feet from the NOM speaker podium. This LGBT response fueled the debate, as Brian Brown called the LGBT protesters “inspiring” as their reaction was only uniting the NOM side more. Brown then used words of love in his response at the counter-protest, telling NOM’s supporters that they should “stand up in love. Be kind. Be loving. This is not going to change what we do. If anything it will make our work stronger.”

Of course, it is safe to say that NOM’s rally also united the LGBT community in New York. The tour inspired eighteen groups to support and carry out the counter-protest. When I asked the demonstration’s lead organizer, Alicia Ortiz of Albany Queer Rising, what the message to NOM was, she replied, “We want to let NOM know that the LGBT community stands together: we stand for marriage, we stand for love….It is about the quality of a family. Not the structure of the family.”

As if Ortiz and the Albany activists did not inspire enough today, their picnic also served as a fundraiser where food, raffle tickets and rainbow cake, were sold as a benefit for In Our Own Voices, an LGBT organization fighting for the health and well-being of LGBTQ people of color. The money collected from the event is being donated to the Rising Star Scholarship, a scholarship for a LGBTQ young adult of color pursuing a college education which was awarded later on in the evening, just hours after the NOM rally at In Our Own Voices’ ‘Jazz in July’ benefit.

The alternative marriage reception was purposely held in the stunning and symbolic Empire State Plaza. A passionate Ortiz, standing with her supportive partner Kiki, pointed out to me the significance of that area. We were in front of capital building and the legislative office buildings, where last December, the New York senate denied New Yorkers that were seeking same-sex marriage the right to marry. Ortiz then optimistically pointed out — with a genuine sense of hope — that the New York State Senate did pass, last month, the “Dignity for All Students Act’ to protect bullied, harassed, and discriminated youth in schools (more often than not LGBT youth).

After the reception the demonstrators opened their rainbow umbrellas and walked to the park next to the Capital building where the NOM rally occurred. Here, they stood in quiet protest for most of the NOM rally.

From the podium, NOM yet again continued their narrative of being a persecuted minority group and linked their effort to the ideals of freedom exemplified by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement, with one speaker saying that “we must rise up and proclaim the truth of human dignity and equality.”

Though the LGBT activists did not vocally disturb the rally as soon as the rally ended they chanted as they marched off “Martin Luther King supported equality for all.” The chant was soon drowned out by NOM playing Woody Guthrie’s classic ‘This Land is Your Land’ loudly over NOM’s sound system.

And, as we all know, the last line of Guthrie’s soulful plea for equality is: “This land was made for you and me.”

UPDATE: In the comments, Jay posted this video of the “This Land is Your Land” moment Danny described above:

Pictures from yesterday’s post on the Albany event are below, for those who haven’t seen them:

IMG00101-20100717-1444

photo

IMG00088-20100717-1429

albanyrally3

IMG00099-20100717-1443

Entry filed under: NOM Tour Tracker, Right-wing. Tags: , , .

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54 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ĶĭŗîļĺęΧҲΪ  |  July 18, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I loved this (OT, but still)!

    Reply
    • 2. Ronnie  |  July 18, 2010 at 12:11 pm

      lol…”I Have A Sign”….ROTFLMGAYAO….<3…Ronnie

      Reply
    • 3. Ғĕłỹҳ  |  July 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm

      While we still have time, it may serve us to create a coordinated plan for each city. Some cities are more quiet and need the quiet while some could use the absurd. Raleigh with all its colleges has definite potential for a big gay production! I do not know the flavor and make-up of the various places but I still say we could do a lot to piggyback off of NOM and use them to amass pro-gay support! Clearly the hetero-community is not too interested in the whole mess, but we on the other hand, have more invested and more at stake!

      Let’s steal NOM pathetic lack of thunder and ride this pony to the White House!!!

      Felyx

      Reply
      • 4. Sagesse  |  July 18, 2010 at 12:54 pm

        For instance, I suggest saving the song ‘Going to the Chapel’ for Iowa, where LGBT folk can actually do that :).

        Reply
    • 5. Lesbians Love Boies  |  July 18, 2010 at 12:13 pm

      I like the signs: “I have a Sign,” “Me,” and the “I was promised Donuts” (scrumptious comeuppance). Actually, some great ideas all the way around. Very funny and point is well made.

      Reply
  • 6. Ronnie  |  July 18, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    “We want to let NOM know that the LGBT community stands together: we stand for marriage, we stand for love….It is about the quality of a family. Not the structure of the family.” ~ Alicia Ortiz

    I LOVE this…thank you….goes directly into my Facebook Quotes….<3…Ronnie

    Reply
  • 7. Straight Grandmother  |  July 18, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Eden,- Please give us the soonest updates as possible. Just post right in this topic. We can wait for a full report later, but give us current updates please.

    Reply
  • 8. Kathleen  |  July 18, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Thanks for the report, Danny. It was great to hear more about what the local organizers did. And I love the fact that they used the opportunity to do something positive and beneficial for the community.

    Reply
  • 9. Michelle Evans  |  July 18, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    And in case people have missed it on the last post, I’ll repeat the info here:

    The NOM tour has co-opted the Peter, Paul, and Mary version of This Land Is Your Land. We urge everyone to take action to call or email the management offices for the group so that hopefully they may go after NOM for their illegal use of this wonderful song, sung by people who would be very ticked to hear it being used by anti-equality people

    http://www.peterpaulandmary.com/
    Martha Hertzberg
    Walk Street Management
    22 Wavecrest Ave
    Venice, California 90291
    (310) 399-6350 (fax)
    (310) 399-5001 (voice)

    Reply
    • 10. Sagesse  |  July 18, 2010 at 12:59 pm

      It would be really nice to take the song back. Just play it before they do. Perhaps play it before their rally starts… someone could walk up to them and say “We’re going to play some music now. Let us know when you want to start and we’ll turn it off.”

      Kill them with politeness.

      Reply
    • 11. John  |  July 18, 2010 at 1:51 pm

      “so that hopefully they may go after NOM for their illegal use of this wonderful song, sung by people who would be very ticked to hear it being used by anti-equality people”

      If peter, paul, and mary are pro-equality suggest to fly them in, pay their fair, and have them perform the song dressed in equality shirts. That’s a bigger statement than going after NOM for illegal use.

      Reply
      • 12. Phil L  |  July 18, 2010 at 3:54 pm

        Unfortunately, according to the website, Mary passed away in 2009.

        If they were/are pro equality I would think that Peter and Paul would be rather angry that NOM is sullying their names and Mary’s.

        Reply
      • 13. Kathleen  |  July 18, 2010 at 4:07 pm

        Yes, Mary passed away last year. But Peter & Paul are still touring. In fact, I think I read somewhere that they’re playing the Lobero Theater in Santa Barbara soon (SB Mom will recognize the venue).

        I sent an email last night. I’ll call the Venice office of their management company tomorrow. Even if there isn’t a rights/licensing violation in its use, I feel sure that P&P will want to know that their recording is being used in a cause that is antithetical to everything they stand for.

        Reply
      • 14. John  |  July 18, 2010 at 10:56 pm

        “Unfortunately, according to the website, Mary passed away in 2009”

        I am sorry to hear that. I hope Peter and Paul could give out a positive statement for equality, preferably during their tour. That would be nice.

        Reply
      • 15. fiona64  |  July 19, 2010 at 8:22 am

        After Mary passed away, Peter and Paul decided not to perform together anymore; they feel very identified with the PP&M days, and have both said that they would not perform without her. Whether one of them would do a solo show, I cannot say.

        Love,
        Fiona (who has been a PP&M fan since she was a little girl and considers them inspirational heroes)

        Reply
    • 16. fiona64  |  July 19, 2010 at 8:23 am

      Kathleen, that is great news that Peter & Paul are playing. As per my previous note, they had originally said that they would not do so after Mary passed (that’ll teach me to post without reading, LOL).

      Love,
      Fiona

      Reply
    • 17. Alicia  |  July 19, 2010 at 10:25 am

      where can we find the link of NOM’s version of the song to show Peter Paul & Mary?

      Reply
      • 18. Lesbians Love Boies  |  July 19, 2010 at 10:35 am

        You can hear it in the video in the article on this page Alicia.

        Reply
  • 19. Dave in CA  |  July 18, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    if it’s too difficult to coordinate a flash mob / dance, we could at least borrow from parts of it.

    Have LGBT supporters show up as if they were NOM supporters, ie paired off as male/female couples, dressed somewhat conservatively to blend in, and mingling in with the NOM attendees. While NOM is speaking, gradually move into place toward the front of the assembled audience, but still mixed in with the crowd. Eventually and gradually everybody is near the front. Then at a predetermined cue, quietly remove their outer shirts to reveal Equality t-shirts, and re-pair off into same-sex couples. Get the message across that we are already here, in your midst, we are your neighbors, we look just like you, etc. And we are not afraid of NOM.

    Reply
    • 20. Ғĕłỹҳ  |  July 18, 2010 at 1:33 pm

      Very cool suggestion!!! Quiet powerful and totally avoids the issue of possible arrest! I whole-heartedly endorse! NOM is a bunch of paranoid freaks spoiling for a fight…lets not give it to them!

      Felyx

      Reply
    • 21. Vaati  |  July 18, 2010 at 1:33 pm

      Dave, that’s a really great idea! Wish I could be out there with you guys protesting, clearly they are too cowardly to step foot in Denver though.

      Reply
    • 22. Ғĕłỹҳ  |  July 18, 2010 at 1:35 pm

      Actually I would take this a bit further Dave…after repairing off we should all make out with over the top (but tasteful) PDA! Just sit or stand there kissing and holding each other like loving gay couples.

      What a way to freak NOM out and really kill their buzz!

      FElyx

      Reply
      • 23. Phil L  |  July 18, 2010 at 3:55 pm

        If they were holding one in Texas (particularly near Austin) I’d be all for doing that (and I’m sure my boyfriend of 10 years would join me).

        Reply
  • 24. Jay  |  July 18, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    I posted this in the last thread, but I’d like to repost it here as well :)

    Here is a photoset of the NOM rally, and Freedom to Marry counter-protest:

    IMG_3984

    And a video of the march out by marriage equality protesters:

    Reply
    • 25. Eden James  |  July 18, 2010 at 2:37 pm

      Thanks Jay!

      I just added the video to the front page as an update to Danny’s post.

      Eden w/ Courage

      Reply
  • 26. Ray in MA  |  July 18, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    I’m back from the trenches in Providnce RI.

    Is this the first report?

    Sorry no pix.

    I’d say we had a 100+ on our side. Maybe 75+ on their side.

    The humidity wasn’t too bad, but the sun was hot. Limited shade.

    FB page claimed 250 pressed the “I will atend button” 450 pushed the “maybe Button” Could this have been sabotaged by NOM?!?!

    We did a noise march from one side of the State House to the other. At first our voices and chants were downwind form their location… it was getting difficult to overcome them.

    It appeard that the State Police let us get bihind them if we did a silent protest. But we got loud and then our oragnizers suggested we just boo when they applauded.

    The most gruesome spectacle on the NOM side were two freaks praying in tongues with their arms fllailing up to the Lord. An small decrepid old bag, I mean “older woman” joined them.

    There were three dogs. One was a cute little Boston Terrier and the other two were medium sized friendly looking hybrids.

    NOT MUCH ELSE!

    Thank you to the organizers who got a permit and did their best to organize the event.

    Reply
    • 27. Kathleen  |  July 18, 2010 at 2:01 pm

      Thanks for the report, Ray. I think your might indeed be the first. Sounds like things went well!!

      Reply
    • 28. Ray in MA  |  July 18, 2010 at 2:02 pm

      Oh! I almost forgot!!! I had the great privilege of meeting PamC and her wife… PamC (Pamzee) is a wonderful member of our PP8TT Community here. They put their best effort forward at this protest… admirable! :)

      We have a lot more in common than I knew from our interaction here. Forme, meeting her and her wife was the most sigifiicant part of following this blog… since its inception last January.

      (hope we meet again soon Pamzee!)

      Reply
      • 29. Bob  |  July 18, 2010 at 3:36 pm

        Yes for PamC, and her wife, hurray, and tons of thanks

        Reply
    • 30. JonT  |  July 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm

      FB page claimed 250 pressed the “I will atend button” 450 pushed the “maybe Button” Could this have been sabotaged by NOM?

      Not sure what they’d gain from that…? Other than if someone said “Sure, I’ll attend.”, then noticed a few hundred other people were going and decided they didn’t need to.

      …two freaks praying in tongues with their arms fllailing up to the Lord

      Heh, they still do that? Glad things went ok.

      Reply
      • 31. Ray in MA  |  July 18, 2010 at 2:10 pm

        They were like in a trance… as we were were first appoaching “them” this guy came down to our “entrance area” and was saying “No! we Love you! Jesus Loves you!”

        As I passed him we were all chanting “Keep your HATE of of our STATE”… and I yelled it the loudest as I was only a couple of feet from his ear.

        Reply
      • 32. Ray in MA  |  July 18, 2010 at 7:02 pm

        Yup, you got it! I don’t need to attend,, plenty of others.

        Reply
      • 33. Sagesse  |  July 18, 2010 at 7:55 pm

        My son is a professional magician, and he has a facebook page for invites. His rule of thumb is: each yes is a maybe, each maybe is a no. That’s his attrition rate from responses on facebook.

        Reply
    • 34. Lesbians Love Boies  |  July 18, 2010 at 2:09 pm

      these two guys?

      http://newsblog.projo.com/2010/07/demonstrators-clash-over-same-.html

      Reply
      • 35. Ray in MA  |  July 18, 2010 at 2:13 pm

        Yup! I tried to get our crowd to flail our arms in response, but there was too much frenzy to get their attention… I was photographed doing that… hope you don’t find that in the media, too!!!!

        Reply
      • 36. Ray in MA  |  July 18, 2010 at 2:28 pm

        BTW, notice the Rainbow Flag behind them… could have been cropped better.. could be an icon picture… reminds me of the Kent State shootings way back.

        Reply
      • 37. PamC  |  July 18, 2010 at 4:39 pm

        Hey there, Ray!!! We went out to eat at our favorite Providence restaurant before heading home. Whew, glad to be out of all that heat!

        I saw you waving your hands, but didn’t get a chance to talk with you about it. What was moving was when 4-5 people from our side went over and faced them silently, knelt down and started to pray. 2 others held up a unitarian church banner. Good to show them that they don’t own spirituality.

        I’m going to read some more before posting more.

        Really great to meet you & your friend, Ray!!!
        & btw, everything you said about us goes double for you!!

        Reply
      • 38. Ray in MA  |  July 18, 2010 at 5:30 pm

        Pamzee, the pleasure was mine. Take care.

        Reply
      • 39. Ray in MA  |  July 18, 2010 at 5:33 pm

        Pamzee, and good point, they don’t own spirituality”

        Reply
    • 40. Ray in MA  |  July 18, 2010 at 2:23 pm

      This was the first GLBT protest I’ve been to*… I know, I’ve been negligent, but I’ve had enough… and you all here have helped me ‘see the light’.

      I’m glad I attended and contributed a small piece to this crazy puzzle… small in scope, but an adrenalin rush to me!

      * 53… about freakin time, huh?

      Reply
      • 41. Lesbians Love Boies  |  July 18, 2010 at 2:26 pm

        Congrats and glad it was positive for you. I have cried at every event/protest I have participated in. I cry happy tears often.

        Really wish they would come to my state, but they have Arizona locked up and no need for them to protest here.

        Reply
  • 42. Mark M  |  July 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Possible sign for a future rally

    Housingpink

    Reply
    • 43. Kathleen  |  July 18, 2010 at 1:58 pm

      GREAT sign, Mark. That’s the message we’re trying to get across.

      For the same reason, I like the idea of Dave in CA from above.

      Reply
    • 44. Ray in MA  |  July 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm

      Like this ALOT!

      Reply
    • 45. JonT  |  July 18, 2010 at 2:07 pm

      Rainbow might be better than hot-pink :)

      But it’s a great idea.

      Could even have variations, like a picture of a group of people near a bus stop. One of them ‘rainbow colored’ and the text something like: “We’re Everywhere” :)

      Reply
      • 46. Mark M  |  July 19, 2010 at 11:56 am

        I agree…..was planning on a rainbow flag flying at the home but am not very good with the software that I have.

        Reply
  • 47. Bob  |  July 18, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    how bout if eventually, by the last rally, everybody just wear rainbow colors, and join the NOM group, just sit with them, in between them, be part of them, make them feel our presence.

    Reply
    • 48. Ray in MA  |  July 18, 2010 at 5:26 pm

      Yes, a good intent, BUT, to sit next to those people, when they clap and cheer at such HATEFUL rhetoric would be extremely painful…are you sure you could do that?

      That’s what I take away from actually being there.

      I saw young parents with their children… the children appeared to be asking “who are those people?!?” … and the parents stearnly turrned them araoud, as if to say: ‘don’t look at them’ … who knows what else they may have said… sadly, many of us can imagine what was said.

      Reply
      • 49. ĶĭŗîļĺęΧҲΪ  |  July 18, 2010 at 6:07 pm

        @Ray in MA

        [A]nd the parents [sternly] [turned] them [around], as if to say: ‘don’t look at them’… who knows what else they may have said… sadly, many of us can imagine what was said.

        And come to think of it, some of those kids could be gay, they just don’t know about it yet, but they already listen to those hateful messages that will get stuck in their brains for many years to come.  Mary Griffith’s words come to mind:  “Before you echo ‘Amen’ in your home or place of worship, think and remember… a child is listening.

        Reply
  • 50. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  July 18, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Way to go, Albany!

    Reply
  • 51. Lesbians Love Boies  |  July 18, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Dang!!! I now have that song “this land is your land” stuck in my head. For a couple of hours now I have wondered why!

    I have been noticing that NOM is trying to emulate the US Patriot theme on this tour. As patriots, they FAIL!

    Reply
  • […] keeping with this twisted version of the truth, NOM played a Peter, Paul & Mary recording of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” during their …. You can here the song being played in the background of this YouTube video showing marriage […]

    Reply
  • […] (which includes video of the song being played at a NOM rally): When I first heard this recording played in Albany, NY, I was stunned and deeply offended. Woody Guthrie and Peter, Paul & Mary are artists who have […]

    Reply
  • […] (which includes video of the song being played at a NOM rally): When I first heard this recording played in Albany, NY, I was stunned and deeply offended. Woody Guthrie and Peter, Paul & Mary are artists who have […]

    Reply

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