At 6:00PM tonight I participated in an Obama for America conference call with LGBT participants. I and 1200 others joined Steve Hildebrand, Deputy Campaign Manager of Obama for America, on a National LGBT conference call to discuss how the LGBT community can help Barack Obama. Senator Obama was off today, and was not a participant in today's call, but he will be joining another conference call within 2 weeks.
Mr. Hildabrand began the call by stating that this has been a truly historic primary. Firstly, the participants being a woman and an African American man was historic. Secondly, the fact that this primary went all the way to the end was historic. And thirdly, this primary brought thousands of new voters into the picture, people who never were interested in a campaign like this. Mr. Hildabrand wanted to extend a hand of warmth to the Hillary Clinton supporters participating in the call.
Elizabeth Birch, who helped found the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), was the first "guest speaker." Ms. Birch, a Clinton supporter, discussed what other Clinton supporters were feeling at this point. Ms. Birch described how she "burst into tears" on June 3, 2008 after realizing Hillary Clinton would not be the democratic nominee for President. Ms. Birch described Senator Clinton as a "warrior" and the pain felt as one would feel for a "vanquished warrior." Ms. Birch said that Obama supporters must be patient, and that it would take a few days for the Clinton supporters to come
Mr. Hildabrand stated that the campaign is quickly moving into "general election mode." State operations would soon be set up and there will be many offices in each of the 50 states. The Obama campaign has joined forces with the DNC. Hildabrand encouraged people to volunteer any way they can, as Senator Obama has done alot for civil rights, including gay rights, and we must do whatever we can to get him elected President in November.
Joe Solomonese, HRC, who was on a 3,000 mile AIDS bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, joined the call, and stated that Obama, like Clinton, is an allie to the LGBT community. Obama has stated that the LGBT community is part of the fabric of America, and Obama has spoken to groups, including churches, and encouraged them to embrace their LGBT brothers. Solmonese stated that allowing McCain to be elected President in November would be a disaster. McCain has voted against the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bill, has voted against workplace discrimination legislation, and thinks "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is working just fine.
David Mixner, civil rights leader and author, was next in line in the call. Mixner was originally a John Edward supporter and he thanked the Obama campaign for welcoming him. Mixner said the Obama has openly opposed amendment initiatives in California and Florida to make gay marriage illegal. The moment is NOW to make change in this country according to Mixner.
Tobias Wolff, a political activist who got his political feet wet advising Democrat John Kerry during the 2004 election and now Chair of Obama's National LGBT Policy Committee, was the next person to speak on the call. Tobias said Obama is really interested in the issue of trust, especially for those Clinton supporters. Although not as well known as Clinton for supporting gay issues, Obama has a longstanding history of supporting gay rights in Ilinois. Wolff has spoken personally and knows the Senator's commitment to the LGBT community.
This ended the call and again it was stated by Hildabrand that Senator Obama would be joining in a call within the next 2 weeks. For me it was exciting to listen to the positive words about Senator Obama with regards to his support for the LGBT community.