Friday, February 09, 2007

Discussing Pride

John from By the Bayou had a really great question about the caucus's Pride statement, and I thought it would be a good idea to move our discussion out here to the front page. If you have an opinion about the statement, we'd love to get a healthy discussion going. (p.s. John has a great Chronicle blog as well).

John asked:
Wouldn't a parade in September be a great opportunity to encourage people to vote?

Members of the caucus expressed several reservations about moving Pride to September. Removing historic significance from the celebration was by far the primary concern. Some members noted that a bigger, flashier Pride, with high profile pop-stars and big corporate floats, leaves very little space for recognizing the important sacrifices of GLBT 's seeking equality. June represents Stonewall and the Lawrence decision, and these two milestones together generally represent our community's poignant sacrifices for equality over time. The Caucus is committed to commemorating these events, and we feel that moving Pride to September diminishes their importance.

Now to your question. Here's what people said about the consequences of the date change on caucus operations. Some might say that a fall celebration's close proximity to the November election makes politics a more pertinent topic for people attending Pride, but a number of Caucus members, who have a lot of experience motivating voters, found several liabilities of a September celebration that outweighed this presumed benefit. Most importantly, by September caucus members are block-walking and phone-banking every weekend, contacting the GLBT voters we've identified throughout the summer, including voters identified during the June Pride festivities. Block-walking and phone-banking are proven to be the most effective methods of voter mobilization, using an event, like Pride, is less effective. Of course, if Pride's date is changed, we'll be there working, but this will prevent us from doing more effective work. Furthermore, as it is now, the caucus uses the June festival to identify and register GLBT voters. A September celebration is dangerously close to the voter registration deadline, which would further complicate the work of the caucus. Some members also fear that a more corporate, less neighborhood centered celebration would prevent us from reaching out to as many voters as we do now.

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