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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 22, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 12
GetEQUAL gets new leadership - Co-founder Robin McGehee passes the torch to veteran organizers
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GetEQUAL gets new leadership - Co-founder Robin McGehee passes the torch to veteran organizers

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Robin McGehee announced this week that she would be stepping down as the director of GetEQUAL and handing over the reins to two of the best organizers she knows: Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez and Heather Cronk.

As of March 18, Sousa-Rodriguez and Cronk took over the reins as co-directors of GetEQUAL.

'You already know Heather and Felipe - they've been working like mad to change and shift the struggle for LGBTQ equality to be more urgent, bolder, and more reflective of the diverse LGBTQ community,' McGehee said in a statement to supporters. 'I'm not going anywhere - I'll still be doing the local organizing that got me started on this journey after the passage of [California's] Prop 8 and will continue to help advise GetEQUAL's national organizing work.'

'When Kip Williams and I co-founded GetEQUAL three years ago, we knew that the movement needed a sense of urgency - it needed to reflect the very real fear and danger that folks from Kip's home state of Tennessee and my home state of Mississippi experience every day,' McGehee reminisced.

FOCUS ON DIRECT ACTION
'We knew that the movement needed to return to our roots of using direct action and nonviolent civil disobedience in order to create moral crises for elected officials and the American public. We knew that the movement needed to take bold action to insist on full federal equality, and that there were people on the ground across the country who were willing to take action to support that effort.

'And, over the past three years, we've done exactly that,' said McGehee.

According to the seasoned activist, GetEQUAL has created a national grassroots network of organizers who have a deep sense of urgency, are willing to take bold action, and are insistent that LGBTQ Americans should be fully equal under federal law.

'Along the way, we've found folks who share all those values, and who are energized by the same vision that captured my and Kip's imagination three years ago,' continued McGehee.

MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
According to McGehee, over the past three years, GetEQUAL has:

o Pushed the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' over the finish line and into the history books.

o Raised the profile of LGBTQ workplace discrimination by demanding an executive order covering government contractors (the push for such an order continues today).

o Led the charge to ensure that the LGBTQ movement takes strong stances to end the suffering of LGBTQ immigrants and asylum-seekers.

o Sounded the alarm over President Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, yielding concrete (yet still insufficient) changes to Pentagon policy for LGBTQ servicemembers and their families.

BIG CHALLENGES AHEAD
McGehee says there is still more work left to do.

'After almost four decades, we're still pushing for the passage of a fully-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. We're on the cusp of ensuring that LGBTQ immigrants/asylum-seekers and binational same-sex couples are included in comprehensive immigration reform. And we're working with Marriage Equality USA to organize a national campaign to highlight the nationwide support for marriage equality during Supreme Court oral arguments next week on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8,' a campaign that includes more than 150 local events.

'It's been a total honor to help lead this work over the past three years, and I'm so happy that Heather and Felipe will be guiding us into the next phase of this work,' said McGehee. 'You've been with us at all points on this journey by following our work, supporting our work, and/or taking action yourself during the struggle for equality. I can't thank you enough for your relentless urgency, but we're going to need to catapult this collective energy to the next level if we're going to get equal!'

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