Wednesday, April 1, 2009


In response to the growing equality movement in California and across the country, community organizers are issuing a call for the use of nonviolent civil disobedience to further the cause. This call comes at a time when the equality movement is energized surrounding the upcoming California Supreme Court decision on the validity of Proposition 8.

Soulforce is collaborating with individual organizers and groups, including Join the Impact, to issue this call. Jeff Lutes, Soulforce Executive Director, drafted the call to action which has been signed already by several community leaders, including Cleve Jones, who is the founder of the NAMES/AIDS Memorial Quilt, and was a historical consultant on the Academy Award winning film MILK.

Working closely with other leaders, Soulforce organizer Chris Hubble created a new website,, to assist in educating the public on nonviolent civil disobedience. The website launched Monday and is designed to help community members learn about the philosophy, practice and history of nonviolent strategies and connect with others locally who are interested in organizing nonviolent civil disobedience. This website is a collaborative effort and is intended to be reflective of the diverse spectrum of approaches to nonviolent resistance. It is also envisioned as an open-source set of learning tools for grassroots organizers. The materials provided suggest a simple outline for facilitating a training in nonviolence which organizers may adopt or adapt to fit their needs.

The call to action specifically promotes nonviolent tactics. Community leaders are urged to sign the call to action at and to begin training in their own communities immediately. For questions pertaining to the new training website, please contact Christopher Hubble at

Time to Take It to the Streets

An urgent national call for nonviolent direct action to achieve full equality
Today, we issue a national call for social change through the ongoing use of nonviolent direct action - including civil disobedience when necessary - until the federal government extends equal protection in all fifty states on matters governed by civil law.

Efforts to achieve full civil equality - such as the right to marry the person we love, the right to care for our families, the right to nondiscrimination in the workplace, and the right to serve openly in the military - have awakened a sleeping giant within the soul of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) community. We are tired of agonizing political setbacks, token change, defending ourselves against charges of moral inferiority, and being told to "wait" in the land we love while liberation occurs in other countries. Martin Luther King, Jr. acknowledged that real change takes time; yet he also warned against the "tranquilizing drug of gradualism" and instructed the oppressed to demand equality now - not on the convenient time schedule of those doing the oppressing. Legislative efforts toward equality, while essential, have proven woefully inadequate under current circumstances.

Today, we affirm that nonviolent strategies such as marches, vigils, demonstrations, public protests, and civil disobedience, seek to create what Dr. King called "healthy tension".. This constructive tension forces those who perpetuate injustice, and society as a whole, to pause, reflect, and consider the ugliness of their prejudices and the indecency embodied in their discrimination. In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. King wrote: "Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored."

In addition to Dr. King's legacy, we remember that those of Mahatma Gandhi, Bayard Rustin, Oscar Romero, Cesar Chavez, the Velvet Revolution, and countless others are deeply rooted in United States and world history. Nonviolent resistance continues to play a vital role in undermining the power of repressive political regimes.

We call on community organizers, activists, movement leaders, and all LGBTQ people across the nation to begin training the masses in nonviolent direct action. We have prepared a new online resource - - to assist in this vital task. As we resist injustice, we must avoid violence of the fist, tongue, and heart and remember that in truth we are challenging unjust systems, not people. In due course, we seek to be in community with those from whom we currently find ourselves divided.

We, the undersigned, call on LGBTQ and allied people everywhere to act with strength and integrity. Today, we reclaim nonviolent direct action as part of that process. Let's understand that the vision of equality belongs to all of us and we are each responsible for taking action in pursuit of that dream. We all have the faculty to be powerful, influential, and prevailing. Let's reinvest in our movement for social change and believe in our own capacity to effect that change. Let's allow the boldness and hunger for justice to grow and contagiously spread to others.

Let's take it to the streets.

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