Press

Task Force Organizes Against California’s Proposition 54

Date: 
September 10, 2003

Field Team on the Ground for Get Out the Vote Efforts; Election is October 7, Last Day to Register to Vote is September 22

Los Angeles, September 10, 2003 - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is intensifying its field efforts in California to assist in the defeat of Proposition 54. The Task Force has identified Ward Connerley's Proposition 54 as dangerous and racist because:

- PROP 54 would make it impossible for the state to collect data that is critical to fund programs for people of color, such as healthcare and education;

- PROP 54 would make it impossible to track patterns of discrimination in housing, health, and education; and,

- PROP 54 would make it impossible to track which races are more susceptible to certain diseases and therefore implement successful outreach to those communities. For example, if PROP 54 passes, we would not be able to track the kind of information that tells us that African American women develop heart disease at a higher rate than other women. Funding that supports outreach programs that target these women would be jeopardized.

"The National Gay And Lesbian Task Force is organizing against PROP 54 because it could have devastating effects on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of color," explains Dave Fleischer, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Director of Organizing and Training. "PROP 54 is authored by the same folks who are anti-immigrant, anti-youth, anti-gay and anti-choice, and by organizing against Prop 54, the Task Force will build a base of progressive, anti-racist voters who will not only stand up against PROP 54 but against other attacks against marginalized people in the future, including LGBT people. Whether we win or lose PROP 54, we've begun building a community of anti-racist, pro-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voters needed to eventually end similarly bigoted attacks."

The Task Force has recently led five voter identification canvasses in Southern California and trained dozens of volunteers for door-to-door voter education efforts. 72 percent of voters contacted in these neighborhood canvasses have pledged to vote no on PROP 54, 90 percent of those voters had not heard of PROP 54 prior to Task Force voter education efforts. Upcoming Task Force get out the vote efforts include neighborhood canvasses on September 14 and 28 and October 4 and 5, and phonebanks every day from October 4 to election day, October 7.

"Anyone can send out a piece of literature with glossy propaganda to try to sway voters," says Sherry Wright, the Task Force Senior Field Organizer leading the efforts to defeat PROP 54 in California. "By talking to voters one on one - we give folks the opportunity to think about the issue - to hear the words that describe what is happening in our state - words like discrimination, racism and homophobia. We give people an opportunity to make the statement that they are against discrimination in any form by going to the polls on October 7 and voting no on Proposition 54."

Media are invited to cover upcoming Task Force field trainings and get out the vote efforts. Please contact Task Force Director of Communications Sheri A. Lunn at 323-857-8751 for media credentials.

Task Force members interested in volunteering for Southern California get out the vote efforts should contact Task Force Senior Field Organizer Sherry Wright at 323-857-8741 or swright@ngltf.org.

For more information on Proposition 54, go to the Informed California Web site.

Go to the California Secretary of State Web site for information on voter registration. The last day to register to vote for the October 7 election is September 22.

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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.