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Anti-Racist, Anti-War Message Gets Warm Response at Gay Pride

Chants like “Arabs & Muslims Under Attack, What do we do? ACT-UP, Fight Back!” rang out from an anti-racism/anti-war contingent in Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade today. CABN, the organizer of the contingent, sees the threat of another war and the racist attacks on Muslims and Arabs as the cutting edge issues in American politics today. (article 2)
The attacks on civil liberties, which Arabs and Muslims currently are facing the brunt of, diminish the freedom of all oppressed communities to fight for our rights. The government’s ability to unilaterally shut down Muslim organizations without criminal charges, imprison activists without criminal charges, and use “secret evidence” against individuals and organizations attacks the very right of all of us to organize.

The message coming from the Gay Pride Parade contingent of about 75 people and 15 supporting organizations today was one of basic solidarity. “As Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered (GLBT) people we know what it’s like…to be attacked on the streets by perfect strangers, simply for being who we are,” read the 7000 handbills passed out at the parade and the African American Gay Pride event that evening. We know what it’s like “to have our government target us for ‘legal’ discrimination and abuse…to have our houses of worship vandalized and destroyed by those who hate us.”

“Some in our community suggest that Muslims under attack are not worthy of GLBT support, given the anti-gay and anti-woman records of many Middle Eastern regimes. But most Middle Eastern people have little say in the dictatorships which rule them, and most of these anti-gay/anti-woman dictatorships are actively supported by the US government. Muslim communities, like our own, have diverse political opinions -- some reactionary, some gay-friendly -- not to mention the opinions of those people who are both gay AND Muslim.“

At issue is if GLBT people will embrace only a narrow “vision” of gay freedom -- one which embraces just those in our community who are generally white, male and well-off, and gives only lip-service, if that, to other communities fighting against injustices. The alternative presented at the Pride Parade today was a vision which sees the fight for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered liberation as inseparable from an overall struggle for human freedom, embracing all struggles against oppression, regardless of who is affected.

Many of the hundreds of thousands watching the parade warmly embraced the contingent’s anti-war and anti-racist message. This bodes extremely well for the future, as reaching out to the majority of people who aren’t activists yet is the key to thwarting Bush’s plans for another war against Iraq. If the US anti-war movement in alliance with the much stronger anti-war movements around the globe can stop this slaughter, the door will be open for a re-energized domestic movement rolling back many of the post-9/11 attacks on our civil liberties.

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Note: On June 21st about 50 predominately GLBT people attended CABN’s Pride Month forum: “GLBT People vs. Racial Profiling, Attacks on Civil Liberties, and the Threat of a New War.” The forum featured nationally syndicated Gay Palestinian columnist Mubarak Dahir and was recorded by Chicago Access Network TV for future broadcast. Information will be posted to Chicago Indy Media once the broadcast information is announced, or periodically check out CABN’s website at www.CABN.org

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Photo captions:
1) Contingent on the march down Broadway.
2) Our “float” for those who needed a lift -- solidarity messages transform a cheap U-Haul truck.
3) Lavendar Greens on the march.
4) At the end: Those who made the entire 3 mile march in 90+ degree heat, with humidity to match -- thank you!!
 
 

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