FRESNO, CA – Robin McGehee and Kip Williams, co-directors of 2009’s National Equality March, recently announced the launch of their new online gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer activist community, GetEQUAL.

The website getequal.org features a call to action video message from Will Phillips, the 10-year old from Arkansas who recently accepted a GLAAD Media award for refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance in school because its promise of “liberty and justice for all” remains empty for millions of Americans. Phillips’ message ties in with GetEQUAL’s pledge, promising to take “bold action to demand equality for LGBTQ people”.
 
Emphasizing direct action and people power, the mission of GetEQUAL is to empower the GLBTQ community and its allies to take action to demand full legal and social equality and to hold accountable those who stand in the way.
 
“All over the country we are under attack”, said McGehee. “From the recent actions of the Attorney General in Virginia to strip away protections for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people on college and university campuses to the young lesbian student in Mississippi who is being denied the right to take her date to the prom. Nearly, every day there is a new story, but the subject is always the same: we are being bullied. We are no longer willing to sit back and wait - we want change now.”
 
GetEQUAL’s organization model is based first and foremost on empowerment. The organization will provide vehicles for people to take action around key moments and connect the narrative of those moments into a powerful movement for change. Tactics will be multifaceted, including centralized online campaigns that build up and empower the GLBTQ and allied national base, and coordinated offline actions that allow people to collectively take to the streets.
 
“When properly served, we believe these people can create a groundswell of energy that will fundamentally change the current political dynamic, restrict support for those who stand in the way of full equality, and embolden those who want to do the right thing” said Williams. “No longer must we settle for empty promises while our young commit suicide, our rights are stripped away at the ballot box, and we are treated as second class citizens. The time has come to unequivocally say that we are more than a political movement – we are a civil rights movement.”
 
Ten-year old Will Phillips agreed to add his voice to GetEQUAL’s message of empowerment and equality. On Oct. 5, 2009, Phillips refused to stand with his Arkansas class and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. To this day he refuses to say the Pledge until full rights are granted to GLBTQ people.
 
In his previously recorded video message for GetEQUAL, Phillips asks for everyone to get involved and fight for equality:
 
“I am a ten-year-old and I get it so any of you that get it too, why don’t you not just say that you get it, but show that you get it. I took a risk and got in to a little bit of trouble, but it was for equality. And, if we are going to achieve equality, everyone needs to take a small risk and maybe get into a little bit of trouble.
 
Phillips also asks for a meeting with President Obama. “President Obama, my voice is small and can do large things; your voice is larger and can do huge things.”
 
Central to the mission of GetEQUAL is to build and nurture a grassroots action network in key cities across the country. This network will comprise individuals, LGBTQ and straight, who will be encouraged to participate in the campaign development and who can lead and support strategic actions in their communities when needed.
 
To view Will Phillips’ video message and to sign the pledge, please visit www.getequal.org.

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