‘It’s Your Table Too,’ Gore Says To NGLTF
Vice President Al Gore addressed a crowd of about 300 people at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's eighth annual "Honoring Our Allies" reception last Monday night in Washington, DC. The annual event honors those who make an extraordinary contribution to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) communities.
In his remarks, the Vice President reaffirmed his commitment to fight against discrimination faced by members of the GLBT community. He also told the crowd that in addition to having a seat at the table, "everybody's got to realize that as full members of the American family, it's your table too."
The Vice President came to pay tribute to Coretta Scott King; John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO; and The Mautner Project, a health services organization for lesbians with cancer. All three were recipients of the 1997 Honoring Our Allies award. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) introduced Mrs. King and renewed his commitment to pushing for passage of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA).
In her acceptance speech, Mrs. King said in 1997, "I still hear from people who claim to be followers of Martin Luther King, Jr., but who think I should be silent about the human rights concerns of gays and lesbians." She said the civil rights movement should be inclusive and unified. "All of us who oppose discrimination and support equal rights should stand together to resist every attempt to restrict civil rights in this country," she added.
Echoing similar sentiments, Vice President Gore remarked that gays and lesbians "certainly have my commitment to work as hard as I can" to stop anti-gay hate crimes, find a cure for AIDS and end workplace discrimination. The Vice President, who was well-received by the crowd, also vowed to ensure gay and lesbian issues continue to have a place on the agenda of this Administration. Vice President Gore reiterated the Administration's commitment to combat hate crimes against members of minority groups, including the GLBT community. He spoke about the upcoming White House conference planned for November which is intended to focus attention on these acts of violence and ways to prevent them.
"Some of the greatest challenges we face are not challenges of law but challenges of the heart," said the Vice President. "Please be assured, you certainly have my commitment to work as hard as I can until the day we do reach those goals."
Linda Chavez-Thompson, executive vice president of the AFL-CIO accepted the award for Mr. Sweeney. Chavez-Thompson, the highest ranking woman of color in the labor movement said, "your destiny and our destiny are linked." Recalling an old Woody Guthrie song, she said "this land wasn't made for the bigots who claim that their families and their marriages are threatened by your families and your marriages. This land was made for you and me to live with dignity and security and equality and hope."
The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.
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