Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Invited to Join 40th Anniversary Civil Rights March on Washington

June 23, 2003

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Southerners on New Ground Coordinating Efforts to Bring LGBT People to Washington DC

Dear Friend:

On Saturday, August 23 - exactly two months from today - the nation's civil rights community will commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's historic ("I have a dream") march on Washington with a new march and rally in Washington, DC. Martin Luther King III and Coretta Scott King are among the march organizers. The theme will be the same as in 1963: Jobs, Peace, Freedom. This march could not come at a more critical time, given the onslaught being waged by the Bush administration and the radical right against all the values we hold dear.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has been invited to join in this historic and urgently needed event. This is the first time that our community has been asked to participate, from the ground up. Moreover, the goals and aspirations of our community will be included in the march's call for action.

"The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) and Southerners on New Ground (SONG) have volunteered to coordinate efforts to bring as many LGBT people to Washington as possible - to join in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the civil rights struggle and to rededicate ourselves to racial justice, economic justice, and equal rights for all people," said Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman. "The Task Force has made a $10,000 donation to support the march and has hired a temporary staffer dedicated to organizing LGBT community participation in the event."

Moreover, under SONG's leadership, our community will again celebrate and recall Bayard Rustin's visionary - but often unrecognized - leadership in the civil rights movement with a special program and showing of "Brother Outsider" tentatively scheduled at the Kennedy Center. As you may know, Bayard Rustin, an out African American gay man, was the principal organizer of the 1963 march, one of Dr. Martin Luther King's most trusted co-workers, and a founder of several leading civil rights organizations, including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

(Background on the Task Force and SONG is included at the end of this message.)

The march weekend also presents many wonderful opportunities for programs, national meetings, speak outs, and social events.

Clearly, an enormous amount of collaborative, joyous and rewarding work needs to be done between now and August 23. If you are interested in participating in this historic event, please contact Caeden Dempsey (who will be helping coordinate this effort starting July 7) at 202-639-6302 or

NORTH CAROLINA PLANNING MEETING: The planning meeting to coordinate North Carolina participation was held tonight (6/23) from 6:30 - 9:00 PM at the Durham County Library (Auditorium, First Floor), 300 North Roxboro Street, Downtown Durham. Contact Caeden Dempsey for future meeting dates.

DC PLANNING MEETING: The first DC-area meeting will be on Friday, July 11 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at the City Christian Church at 5 Thomas Circle, NW, Washington DC.

NEW YORK CITY PLANNING MEETING: Will be held the week of July 7 - details to be announced.

Jobs - free from discrimination

Peace - at home, abroad, on our streets

Freedom - to be who we are without fear of discrimination or violence

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Matt Foreman

Southerners on New Ground
Mandy Carter


Founded in 1973, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is the oldest national organization working to eliminate prejudice, violence, discrimination and injustice against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people at the local, state and national level. The Task Force trains activists and leaders and organizes broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-gay referenda and advance pro-GLBT legislation. The Task Force Policy Institute, the community's premiere think tank, researches and reports on critical policy issues. As part of a broader social justice movement for freedom, justice and equality, the Task Force is creating a world that respects and celebrates the diversity of human expression and identity where all people may fully participate in society.

Founded in 1993 in the vision of six black and white southern lesbians, the purpose of Southerners On New Ground (SONG) is to build movement across the south for progressive social change by developing models for organizing that connect race, class, culture, gender and sexual identity. Specifically, SONG integrates work against homophobia into freedom struggles in the South through our 12-state southern region. SONG's work is to help people uncover what they already know about isolation experienced from divide and conquer tactics, while providing new models of working together across difference. We bring people together through Trainings, Retreats, Technical Assistance and the Bayard Rustin Project. The Bayard Rustin Project honors the legacy of a black, gay pacifist who was the principle architect of the 1963 March on Washington. The Project's goal is to help build a network of southern lesbigaytrans people of color and strengthen the capacity of people of color led organizations in the south.


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.