Archive for the ‘John Lewis’ Category

>As Ugly As It Gets

March 22, 2010

>At least one TV in our home was on C-Span all day yesterday. That doesn’t mean I was parked in front of it all day, but I did see the good parts.

All the rhetoric that we have heard over the last 427 days (that this legislation has been worked on) will soon be forgotten. Health Care Reform will be seen to be a benefit to society and America will be a better place.

Republicans seem to think this gives them momentum, but I believe just the opposite. I am a typical Democrat, in that I support most of the policies of the party and usually vote for Democrats. And my elation this morning is profound. If I use the feeling after Barack Obama was elected as a baseline of 100, then today I am feeling a 93.

And if all Democrats in America are feeling a 93, then we will do well in November. A fringe benefit from this vote will be about 32 million votes. Democrat poll number should go up this week and continue to rise in the run up to the 2010 election.

Nancy Pelosi ended the night with her remarks on the floor of the House by smiling and giving examples of the positive ways this reform will benefit women in particular and Americans in general. Every woman in America should vote for Democrats this year after what Pelosi has done and after what Lilly Ledbetter did to advance equality. Being female is no longer a pre-existing condition.

Minority leader John Boehner screamed “Hell, no,” several times in a fit of rage.

An unidentified Republican called out “baby killer” as Bart Stupak was speaking.

(Update: I just read this tweet: “Dear Congress: Before you shout “baby killer”, remember that 5,378 babies have been killed fighting in Afghanistan/Iraq.”)

John Lewis was unfazed as Republican supporters chanted “ni**er” at him as he approached the Capitol on Saturday.

John Lewis and me at last year’s Weekend of Equality.

Let’s just say that Democrats and progressives were on the high road over the weekend, while Republicans and teabaggers were on the low road.

Shamefully, as has been the case throughout history, Alabama’s congressional delegation stood firm in their attempt to deny insurance to 32 million Americans and to prevent the Medicare donut hole from closing.

Artur Davis will be left behind as he will no longer be in office in Washington to see this reform implemented. Terri Sewell, who is seeking to replace Davis in AL-07, had this to say.

“Today’s vote brings this country a step closer to ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable quality coverage. It is important that health care reform does not end here, but that we continue to press for a public option that will ensure coverage of 100% of Americans. In Congress, I will work with President Obama to make sure that this is done,” said Sewell.

Sewell hopes to be the first black women elected to congress from Alabama. We need a woman representing Alabama. Our seven congressmen, including Davis, voted against the interests of women in the area of health care last night.

Ron Sparks wants to be governor, and said this.

“I have been on record supporting affordable health care,” said Commissioner Ron Sparks. “I am happy for the 7th District, which will finally get the assistance they desperately need and want. I have never seen a Representative so blatantly ignore the will of the people in his district like Artur Davis has done. He was elected to represent the 7th District, not the special interests, but he chose to return to Washington to vote against his constituents.”

Read what some other locals said at Left in Alabama.

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>Equality Weekend Gala with John Lewis

September 21, 2009

>What an evening the Equality Weekend Gala Dinner turned out to be. I was able to spend a minute or so with Congressman John Lewis and thanked him for all he has done for our country, and for our community.


There were several hundred people at the event, which featured a silent auction, awards presentation, performances by the Magic City Choral Society, a scrumptious meal and dessert and of course, the address by Congressman Lewis.

Seated at our table were Birmingham School Board candidate Elisa Burns-Macon and her partner Donna, congressional candidate Terry Sewell and two of her campaign staff members, Alabama Stonewall Democrats president John Smallwood and Congressman Lewis’s driver. Pretty good company, huh?

Decor was provided by Confero Productions. Thank you Christopher.


You can view the video of Congressman Lewis’s speech here. The speech is about 18 minutes long. Thanks Pam for sharing this.

He began the speech by reflecting on raising chickens as a child, and how he used to practice preaching to the chickens. Some would bow their heads, he said, some would shake their heads, but they never quite said “Amen.”

“But I am convinced that some of those chickens that I preached to in the 40’s and the 50’s tended to listen to me much better than some of my colleagues listen to me today in Congress. As a matter of fact, some of those chickens were a little more productive.”

He want on to recount some of his experiences as a Freedom Rider and his thoughts as he sat and watched Barack Obama’s inauguration. John Lewis was the first person Obama greeted as he came out of the Capitol that day, and he asked for Lewis’s prayers. Lewis assured him.

He urged the LGBT community, just as Martin Luther King urged the black community in 1963, that “You cannot wait, you cannot be patient. You want your freedom and you want it now.”

“Discrimination is discrimination. No government, be it federal or state, should tell a person who they can marry or who they cannot marry. People have a right to fall in love and get married.”

“I do not understand. Two men, two women, fall in love and get married. Whose marriage is being threatened?”

He compared the fight for same sex marriage to the fight for interracial marriage.

Some day we will look back and laugh at ourselves, he said. “The stars didn’t fall over Alabama because people fell in love and got married.”

Thanks, Equality Alabama, for hosting this event. Like the congressman said, we will change the south, we will change America, and the country will be a better country.

>Congressman John Lewis headlining Equality Weekend

September 18, 2009

>Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) will be the keynote speaker at Equality Alabama’s gala tomorrow night.

Equality Weekend begins today and lasts through Sunday. You can still register for the event. The seminars and workshops on Saturday are free. Such noted speakers as blogger Pam Spaulding and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Mandy Carter and others will offer their insight for free. For some events, including the Gala, there is a fee.

Congressman Lewis, an Alabama native, is a hero to the GLBT community as he is to the Black community and for that matter, all of America. He was a participant in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march and has fought for equality all of his life.

Here is part of an interview of Rep. Lewis.

“It is unfortunate that a segment of our society fails to see that we all should be treated like human beings, that we all are citizens of the United States of America. I’ve taken the position and I’ve long held this position that I fought too long and too hard against discrimination base on race and color not to stand up and speak out against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

It doesn’t matter if someone is gay or straight or whether someone believes in a different philosophy or different religion. We’re one people, we’re one family, and we’re one house. There is not any room in American society for discrimination based on sexual orientation. It doesn’t matter whether someone is gay or happens to be lesbian or transsexual. We’re one people; we’re one family, the American family. You call it what you want, discrimination is discrimination and we have to speak up and speak out against discrimination.

You have too many people in this society saying they’re against same-sex marriage. If people fall in love and want to get married, it is their business. Martin Luther King Jr. use to say races don’t fall in love in love and get married; individuals fall in love and get married. So if two men or two women want to fall in love and get married it’s their business. Some people say it is a threat to the institution of marriage, and some of these people who go around saying that same sex marriage is a threat to the institution of marriage, which marriage or what marriage are they talking about? Some of these same individuals have had several marriages and I don’t think individuals that happen to be gay are a threat to anybody’s marriage.

Love is love. It is better to love than to hate, it is better to be together than to be divided.”

Congressman Lewis is a graduate of American Baptist Theological Seminary, and he gets it. Make plans now to hear this great man tomorrow.
PS. As a side note, Congressman Lewis has agreed to accept my pre-publication manuscript of my book, Those Others , which includes a great deal about the Selma to Montgomery march. It will be interesting to learn what he thinks of it. I plan to publish late this year or early 2010.