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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Where Rights Went Wrong

This morning on the last day of the America’s Future Now conference AFJ President Nan Aron moderated the panel, Where RIghts Went Wrong: What Happened to the Rights Revolution?. Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, spoke about the frustrating lack of progress concerning LGBT rights on many fronts including marriage, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, while highlighting areas where the movement has been able to make headway. Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of Choice USA similarly talked about lack of progress in many areas, but also opportunities for change, particularly on the ground in the states.

Adam Luna, who coordinates the America’s Voice strategy spoke about the frustrating lack of progress concerning immigrant rights, particularly the Dream Act, but he echoed the sentiments of other speakers that the progressive community as a whole is doing a better job of coming together to work on issues.

Anthony D. Romero took a different tack during his talk, bluntly stating “I'm disgusted with this president.” While Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU, has been frustrated with the lack of legislative progress under this administration, his disgust is due to the “meltdown of due process” that has resulted from the lack of accountability for, and change to, the policies of torture during the Bush administration.

Although, much of the discussion contained some frustration with the Obama Administration, there was general agreement that the Rights Revolution cannot rely solely on our elected officials, but must act as a grassroots movement to effect change and transform the culture in this country.

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