Continuing on with Day 1…
The second panel was “Marriage Equality: Building a Movement Online” which went a great deal into contrasting the campaign to defeat Prop 1 in Maine in 2009 with Prop 8 in California in 2008. I learned about Friendfactor, a social networking site aimed at mobilizing the LGBT community and their straight friends to stand up for marriage equality. Check it out and sign up to be updated as they near launch. The panel also discussed the important of coalition building, especially with communities of faith, which unfortunately tend to be ignored by LGBT activists. DC Equality, for example, was able to get over 200 religious leaders in the area to stand with them for marriage equality. This sort of coalition building can be done everywhere.
Next, I attended the “Immigration Reform’s Strange Bedfellows: The Surprising Consensus that Reform Will Improve American Jobs and Bolster Our Economy” panel which was focused on the consensus among different progressive interest groups for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) such as the NAACP and how the right-wing tries to place wedges between progressive groups through nativist front-groups like You Don’t Speak for Me, Coalition for the American worker and Progressives for Immigration Reform and the Center for Immigration Studies, both by Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) founder and white nationalist John Tanton.
Immigration reform is extremely popular but because of the frustration in the public for something, initiatives like Arizona’s SB 1070 gains traction and apparent popularity which in turn creates terror in Latino communities and erodes trust between law enforcement and the community. There was also discussion on the ongoing debate over weather the DREAM Act should be included in CIR or not. The argument for separating the two is that the popular DREAM Act would be much easier to pass, however separating it would make CIR less likely to pass.
After the panels, I was on the Mario Solis-March Show to discuss the day’s activities during the 5:30 MT. Head over to his site and listen to the podcast.
That night at the dinner keynote Ed Schultz came to speak. He delivered a rousing speech, but to the dismay of the LGBT netroots he failed to mention us when listing different progressive groups. Finally the actual keynote speaker for the night was Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer who enjoys a 60% approval rating and is one of the most effective governors in the country. This is what happens when Democrats are Democrats. Governor Schweitzer also shared an interesting story about his Irish emigre grandmother who came to America in 1909 at the age of 17 and homesteaded 320 acres alone, but since she exceeded the Catholic and Irish immigration quota at the time, she ended up being an illegal immigrant, but was able to get that issue legally resolved since she had established herself here. I guess the right-wing would say she was “rewarded for breaking the law.”
I decided to sleep-in Friday and didn’t attend the opening talk by Van Jones. My first panel was something right up my career alley, “Advertising Online for Progressive Causes and Campaigns which included Andrew Roos from Google who is an Adwords account executive on elections and issue advocacy.
Next, I attended the LGBT caucus. It was more of a workshop where we broke into groups to identify different organizational and issue-related action items.
For lunch we had several speakers and a panel on civil rights in the modern era with labor organizer Eliseo Medina and LGBT activist Kate Kendell and the Reverend Lennox Yearwood. This afternoon I attended a presentation about Presente.org‘s successful campaign to get Lou Dobbs off CNN which included their Basta Dobbs microsite and coordination between offline and online efforts. They successfully exploited CNN’s apparent discrepancy with having Latino journalists like Rich Sanchez and Soledad O’Brien and O’Brien’s CNN special Latino in America along with xenophobes and proud Minuteman supporter Lou Dobbs. Presente.org also felt that it was important to get Dobbs off the air before we entered a full-fledged debate on CIR. Presente.org’s next efforts will focus on getting the DREAM Act passed.
Again I was on the Mario Solis-March Show to provide an update.
More to come…