Wednesday, Dec. 10th:
DAY WITHOUT A GAY!
RALLY FOR WORKERS @ Republic Windows & Doors
At 11 AM , Wednesday Chicago and many other cities around the country will mark "A Day Without a Gay" a protest against California's anti-gay Proposition 8 and a demand that Illinois become the next state enacting equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.
The idea behind "A Day Without a Gay" is to highlight the economic contributions of LGBT people by pledging not to spend any money on that day, and if possible, not working either.
Equal marriage rights carry with it considerable economic advantages which we are currently denied automatic access to a spouse's health insurance, Social Security and pension survivor's benefits, two legally recognized parents for our children, inheritance in case one spouse dies, and more. While handfuls of wealthier same-sex couples can afford to hire attorneys to cobble together an imperfect web of contracts covering some of these rights, this is not an option for most working class LGBT people, especially in the current economic crisis.
As we approach on Wednesday the 60th annual International Human Rights Day amidst the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, it is worth noting that some of the highlights of the LGBT movement for equality have dove-tailed with struggles for economic justice. Harvey Milk famously assisted the Teamsters in their boycott of anti-union, anti-gay Coors Beer.
Later that solidarity would pay handsome dividends for our community in helping form alliances with unions of teachers and others in the successful campaign to defeat California's Briggs Amendment (the amendment would have banned gay and pro-gay teachers from the states's schools). Defeating Briggs marked a turning point in our movement and the beginning of the end for the career of gay-hater Anita Bryant.
This year, in addition to anti-Prop 8 protests, a particularly dynamic labor struggle has exploded right on our doorstep. Union workers at Republic Windows and Doors have occupied their North Side factory in protest against their employer's unilateral closure on almost no notice, in violation of both state and federal laws. Republic workers' occupation appears to be the first U.S. workplace occupation since the Great Depression.
Republic claims it had to shut down because its main creditor, Bank of America, itself the recipient of a recent $25 billion government bail-out, failed to extend a line of credit. While that may be true as far as it goes, the Chicago Tribune and others have reported that there is plenty of evidence suggesting that Republic was stripping the firm of its most valuable assets preparatory to declaring itself bankrupt, only to then re-open as a non-union firm under a different name.
At 12 noon on Wednesday, just one hour after our equal marriage "Day Without a Gay" protest begins, labor rights supporters will be rallying nearby in front of the local Bank of America headquarters at 231 S. LaSalle Street. After our protest for equal marriage rights concludes at about noon, we will march as a group over to 231 S. LaSalle Street.
Our aim will be to show that many in the LGBT community understand that an injustice against anyone must be opposed by all people. Most LGBT people ourselves also have to work for a living and understand that we, along with the union workers at Republic, do not have anything in common with the "free market" corporate leaders who have soaked up billions in government bail-outs while giving nothing back to the community.
On Wednesday, please join us:
** 11 AM sharp at 118 N. Clark Street (across the street from Daley Plaza) for "Day Without a Gay."
** After our protest, join us as we gather together with Republic workers and their other allies at 231 S. LaSalle Street.
"Day Without a Gay" was initiated by JoinTheImpact.com and the Gay Liberation Network. The event is co-sponsored by the following: Amigas Latinas; Chicago Coalition Against War & Racism; Chicago Coalition of Welcoming Churches; Hammerhard MediaWorks; International Socialist Organization; Kenosha-Racine LGBT Chamber of Commerce; Ifti Nasim, international gay activist and poet ; Pledge of Resistance; and, Sankofa Way
For more information contact GLN at www.GayLiberation.net or LGBTliberation@aol.com