On July 16, 2009, President Barack Obama delivered a dynamic speech on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the National Assocation for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The NAACP has been the seminal and pivotal organization for the phenomenal growth toward civil rights in these United States of America. A celebration of this organization and its creative and powerful membership is well-deserved and should be celebrated by every group.
There was a cognitive dissonance in hearing the presidents’ words, however, as a gay person in the U.S, particularly considering the NAACP has been a vibrant supporter of gay rights. His message of hope and personal and social responsbility resonated as so much more shallow than it might have as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue (DADT) policies remain in full force.
This letter was written and sent today to President Obama in hope that my voice, added to the millions of others supporting full civil rights for all people in the United States, would make a difference.
Wherever you stand on these topics, I hope this continues to be an on-going discussion and that the gay community, like the African-American community, will find positive movement forward as time passes.
July 16, 2009
Dear President Obama,
Thank you for your dynamic and moving speech on the joyful anniversary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People today. Your words of hope and movement forward, personal responsibility and support of the national government were both powerful and intimate.
Without taking anything away from your message to the African-American community, it’s just sad that your words do not apply to the gay children in our country. It truly is a shame. Your silence is injuring our gay youth every day it continues. Your daily inaction is another pound of weight of intolerance and neglect on their necks.
Because I believe in your innate goodness and wisdom, I must only conclude that you do not clearly understand that you alone, Mr. President, can change the direction of our national intolerance and neglect toward all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in our country, particularly with regard to the Defense of Marriage Act and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue policies. It is your voice that will ring the clarion call for change, change that you promised all Americans during your campaign.
I will continue to remind you of your promise, Mr. President. Each time you speak, I am listening, along with millions of others like me. We are waiting.
Thank you for taking the time to read this correspondence, if you have. I suspect it will simply end up in a stack of mail that your aides will review, at which time they will mail out a boilerplate response, and feel complete in their task. Your eyes will be ignorant of my words and your hands will be clean of responsibility for a genuine, personal response to me.
That is not accessibility to you. That is accessibility to the infrastructure of the White House and no more.
In prayers of gratitude and hope,
James C. Glica-Hernandez