Equality California
EQCA, Jordan / Rustin Coalition Launch Effort in African-American Communities

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June 16, 2009

Equality California, Jordan / Rustin Coalition Launch Mobilization Effort on Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in African-American Communities

Outreach Includes TV ad, on-the-ground organizing

Los Angeles -- As same-sex couples who were able to legally marry last year celebrate their one-year-anniversaries, Equality California (EQCA) and Jordan / Rustin Coalition (JRC) are together launching an education and mobilization effort on the freedom to marry in LA's African-American communities. The effort includes a TV commercial, on-the-ground organizers and a dedicated field office, which will be based in South Los Angeles, a predominantly African-American community.

"Jordan / Rustin Coalition is happy to partner with Equality California as we do the work to open the hearts and minds of all Californians, including those in the Black community, on the question of marriage for same-sex couples," said Ron Buckmire, JRC board president. "Our partnership includes a multi-media campaign, outreach and public education and even the nuts and bolts of staffing and supplies. I am confident that together we will see the day when full LGBT equality is restored to our state."

As part of today's launch, the organizations released a television ad that features a gay African-American couple, Xavier and Michael Boykin-Haggood, along with three of their five children, Dante, Emmanuel and Fatima. The family lives in LA's Leimert Park neighborhood. Their ad is scheduled to air starting the week of June 22nd.

"As we celebrate this one-year-anniversary of marriages in California, we are proud to be working with Jordan / Rustin Coalition to have conversations with African-Americans about marriage for same-sex couples," said EQCA Marriage Director Marc Solomon. "As people really get to know our families, they will see they have the same hopes, dreams and concerns as any other family and simply want the protections and dignity that marriage affords."

The office is slated to open later this summer. JRC, EQCA, and a coalition of grassroots and community leaders rooted in South Los Angeles will work collaboratively to organize outreach events and lead door-to-door efforts to talk with African-American Californians.

To view the television ad, click here: http://www.eqca.org/michael&xavier