Last night’s biggest think piece here at Creating Change came late… I was hanging out with friends and Andres ducked out then returned with a new buddy to add to the mix. I ask the new man what he does for work, joy or fun and he says he works at NAACP. I jokingly say NAACP, who’s that? But then say I was just joshing, I actually just became a lifetime member. His ears perk up, really, when did I do that? Oh… you know, after the National Equality March last fall. You see Julian Bond was the keynote speaker and I was floored at his amazing speech. While a certain elected official had recently talked about LGBT rights at the HRC dinner the night before in carefully measured words, Dr. Bond went so far beyond that, his speech was truly historic and deeply moved me. I’ll talk more about it later, but I encourage you all to watch it on youtube here and here. So you know, I tell our new friend at the table, the guy who introduced Dr. Bond told us all to become members, so I did. The new person stops, turns to Andres next to him and say “He just disproved what I said at the racial justice workshop.” Huh? Well, the story unfolds and it turns out… the new man at the table was Maxim Thorne, Senior VP of NAACP. He introduced Dr. Bond at the March. He calling for us all to please show our support by becoming members of NAACP. But after one of the most amazing speeches of welcoming and commitment to LGBT civil rights I’ve ever heard, given by a straight man who is the head of NAACP, Director Emeritus of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who has a wall of praise for his work in the civil rights movement… almost no one of the tens of thousands of LGBT and allied people who were listening followed Maxim’s urging and became a member of NAACP.
More on this later, but for now I’ll simply leave with Maxim’s thoughts on the subject… “We have a lot of work to do.”