Steel-City Stonewall Democrats has been a key part of the advances on GLBT issues happening locally and nationally. The board and members are working hard to elect pro-LGBT leaders and to move legislation forward. While we celebrate the passage of the Allegheny County Non-Discrimination Ordinance, of which SCSD played a key role, we know there is much work to be done. Often we hear from people who want to help, but aren’t sure how. So please take a moment to review the following special projects to find out how you can help within the limited free time you may have:
To find out more about how specifically you can help with any of these special projects please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, Steel-City Stonewall now has a twitter account along with our facebook page. Check out https://twitter.com/stonewallpgh and our facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=37211267216
1) Black Pride Weekend 2009 is happening July 22-26. A full calendar of events can be found by contacting email@example.com but on Sunday, July 26 there is a picnic at Rhododendron Grove in Highland Park, 12 noon-dusk. If you would like to help staff a Steel-City Stonewall Democrats information table for the day, please contact us.
2) The coming focus for Steel-City Stonewall Democrats now turns to the upcoming November 3rd, 2009 General Election. The upcoming State-wide Judicial Elections are key to the pursuit of progressive goals in Pennsylvania. In the race for Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Superior Court Judge Jack Panella is running against Superior Court Judge Joan Orie Melvin for the lone vacancy on the Supreme Court. Joan Orie-Melvin is the sister of State Senator Jane Orie who is one of the major proponents of anti-equality efforts in the Pennsylvania Senate. Conservatives will control the PA Supreme Court if Joan Orie Melvin wins the Supreme Court race. There are a number of issues the make-up of this court will decide but a key one may be regarding the redistricting of voting districts. This is a difficult idea to quickly convey but we need people willing to write articles and letters to progressive media outlets to spread the word on this important election. We will help you understand the issues of you are willing to write for us.
3) Another key race is Tom Michelow for County Council District 1. He is a progressive candidate who is running against an incumbent (Matt Drodz) who voted against the non-discrimination ordinance. Please get involved by donating to or volunteering for Tom’s campaign. On Facebook, you can check him out at - http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=29497746798&ref=mf A Steel-City board member is putting together a fundraising campaign for Tom and we could use your help. Also, we need people willing to help Tom with door knocking on Saturdays for 2 hours at a time. Name recognition in the area he represents is critical to winning! You wouldn’t go alone and would be given instruction on what message to convey.
4) National Stonewall Democrats has been putting out a call to support Patrick Murphy, a federal congressperson from the Philadelphia area who has been willing to take a bold stand on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Locally, we have been in touch with a veteran who was discharged and another individual who has been working closely with Representative Murphy to bring him to town to discuss DADT. If you would be willing to serve on a host committee for a visit from Patrick Murphy or be willing to help arrange legislative visits during August with Senator Arlen Specter or even John Murtha to encourage their support of a DODT repeal, please contact us. More information on Congressman Murphy’s leadership efforts on this and a chance to contribute to his re-election campaign can be found at http://www.actblue.com/page/fightingalongsidemurphy
5) While legislation like the county ordinance and national efforts to pass ENDA ensure you can’t be fired in most companies just for being LGBT , getting and keeping a job is only half the battle. Another piece of pending legislation, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) steps in where the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would end. Health Care benefits to care for a same-sex partner, fair wages , removing transgender health exclusions from employer plans and other benefits federal law does not and would not mandate are also important to consider. National Stonewall Democrats has created a campaign to pass both pieces of legislation , ENDA and EFCA, together. Go to www.sharedagenda.org for more information. A local coalition of progressive groups has been working to lobby on behalf of EFCA and we need people willing to spread the word, encourage letters and phone calls, write letters to the editor and send letters to Senator Specter. If you are willing to help with this issue please contact us.
6) Be on the lookout for the annual fall Steel-City Stonewall Cook-ut in September where you will have a chance to meet and talk with candidates, ask questions and hear more about these other issues….all over a fire and s’mores!
7) The next Steel-City Stonewall Democrats open board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug 11, 7-9 PM, Check www.steel-city.org latter in the week for location details.