Originally published: Nov. 13, 2008, 10:45 a.m.
Updated: Nov. 13, 2008, 11:04 a.m.
In a national show of frustration, anger, sadness and Pride combined, a spontaneous, national day of action has risen up out of the ashes of California’s Proposition 8 passage. As thousands of California LGBT and straight citizens continue to protest the passage of the anti-LGBT marriage amendment, activists have banded together to organize similar protests in cities across the country, North Carolina included.
Asheville, Charlotte, Charleston, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh and Wilmington will all participate in the national grassroots protest, being organized by JoinTheImpact.com. Hundreds are expected to participate in the protests statewide.
Raleigh organizer Will Elliott told Q-Notes that he first learned of the national organizing effort on Sunday. Since his Facebook.com event page went live on Monday afternoon, more than 500 people have indicated they’d attend.
Protest locations: Click here for an up-to-date listing of all North and South Carolina Prop. 8 protest locations.
Join Coverage: For Q-Notes/Out in Asheville Joint News Coverage of the N.C. & S.C. Prop. 8 Protests visit: NCProp8Protests.blogspot.com.
Organizers said they expected at least 1,000 attendees, according to a press release received Nov. 13. Instead of holding a three-hour event like other cities, Elliott said he’d truncate his protest and end at 3 p.m., making it easier for people to participate in both his event and the already, long-planned N.C. Equality Conference in Durham.
The Raleigh protest will feature speakers like Faith in America’s Rev. Jimmy Creech, one-time U.S. Senate candidate Jim Neal and Sophia Bush, star of The CW’s “One Tree Hill.” The rally will be held on Halifax Mall, the parade grounds behind the N.C. Legislative Building on Jones St. Organizers said the best address for Halifax Mall is 46 E. Lane St., for those trying to find their way to the location via online mapping sites. Elliott will appear with Durham blogger Pam Spaulding on WUNC public radio on Friday, Nov. 14 at Noon with “State of Things” talk show host Frank Stasio.
Evvie Harmon, 25, said she first found out about an attempted Charleston Prop. 8 protest only a couple days ago. After they city denied her a permit to protest at the court house, Harmon said she went to a local national parlk. “I did some research and found that Liberty Square is a national park,” she said. “I got a permit for Liberty Square in a matter of 20 minutes.”
Harmon said she is encouraging other South Carolinians to join in the Charleston protest. They’ll gather at Liberty Square at 1:30 p.m. Shortly thereafter they will march to the court house.
Greensboro organizer Mike Gilbert, 25, a student at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, said about 40 people had registered as attending on his Facebook event page. He plans on holding the protest in front of Greensboro’s Melvin Municipal Building. Like Elliott, Gilbert is still working on securing the proper protest permits.
Gilbert said he’ll be raising awareness of what happened in California, as well as in Arkansas, Arizona and Florida, but that he also wants to focus on what effects people locally.
“The main thing will be what we are trying to fight at home,” he said. “I want to show those of religious faiths that you can be gay and God will still use you and love you.”
Charlotte organizer Braxton Midgett, a student at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, said the Queen City’s protest will be held at the Charlotte Government Center. The location was changed from the old Charlotte City Hall mid-week.
“We will succeed and get this country on the track towards equality for all,” he said in an email.
By Thursday morning, over 250 people had said they’d attend the event, according to Midgett’s Facebook event page. At a planning meeting Wednesday night at Charlotte’s Lesbian and Gay Community Center, Midgett met with leaders of two local gay and lesbian choruses. They agreed to lead a joint choir at Saturday’s event. A former chair of Pride Charlotte was on hand to assist with preparing for opposition strategy if counter-protesters make an appearance.
The national effort to organize protests across the country has drawn heavily on the grassroots. Regular folks who might otherwise have no other protest or organizing experience are stepping up to the plate to speak out in their own communities. A listing of protest locations across the country can be found at JoinTheImpact.com, although all cities and states have yet to have an organizer step up to take the lead.
The protests across the country will take place at the same time, 1:30 p.m. EST/10:30 a.m. PST.
For Q-Notes/Out in Asheville Joint News Coverage of the N.C. & S.C. Prop. 8 Protests visit: NCProp8Protests.blogspot.com.