Guest Blogger

A little known legacy in the LGBT community

Filed By Guest Blogger | October 08, 2010 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: Americans for Democratic Action, Andy Szekeres, Michael J Wilson, Ted Kennedy

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Andy Szekeres is a political consultant from Denver who specializes on LGBT ballot measures and progressive candidates and causes.

Headshot.jpgAmericans for Democratic Action has been one of the most powerful forces in all liberal politics. For over 60 years it was heralded by liberal lions such as Senator Ted Kennedy for helping raise the minimum wage and other liberal game changers like the fighting for civil rights in the 1940s and 1950s, for serious anti-poverty programs in the 1960s, for environmental protection in the 1960s and 70s, for fair trade and workers' rights in the 1990s, and for never shying away from the word liberal.

I was first introduced to Americans for Democratic Action in 2006 while working on the Domestic Partnership campaign in Colorado known as Ref I. They called our campaign and wanted to know how they could rally the 70,000 members of ADA to help us in Colorado. It also happened to be our first national non-LGBT endorsement at a critical early time in the campaign and was crucial at waking up other progressive groups to our cause. Many non-LGBT progressive groups have not been willing to immerse themselves in our ballot measures until the last few years.

After I was hired as the finance director in Maine for the No on 1 - Protect Maine Equality campaign, I reached out to Americans for Democratic Action for help where I met Michael J Wilson, MichaelJWilson&RepTammyBaldwin.jpgwho had come over to ADA after being an international vice president at the United Food and Commercial Workers and is the staunchest ally for our community I have ever met. His leadership has pushed ADA into becoming a leader in the progressive community talking about our issues.

From sitting on a panel at NN09 to speaking out at the hearing for gay marriage in DC to being a regular on Same Sex Sunday, his voice as an straight African-American who understands union politics has made him an advocate for our community unlike any other. Under his leadership at ADA, he has directed resources and staff's time to lobby the hill for DADT Repeal, ENDA Passage protecting gay marriage rights in every state that has won them with their local chapters and local organizers.

Why am I telling you this?

Picture5.jpgAmericans for Democratic Action needs our community's help; they are in the process of kicking off their largest membership campaign in the last 30 years and they need the LGBT community's help to reach their goal of finding 5,000 new members before the end of the year. My hope is that the readers will invest with me in the fall membership campaign at a special rate of $15.00 to keep them fighting across the country.

Americans for Democratic Action has been there for us before being supportive of LGBT issues became mainstream; from California to Maine, from New York to Hawaii and everywhere in between. There has not been an organization in the progressive community that has such a legacy in our community as Americans for Democratic Action I hope you will join with me and becoming a supporter of ADA today.

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Thanks for spreading the word about Americans for Democratic Action. Way back in the early 1980s, as a result of my glbt organizing, I was invited to serve on the ADA's national board of directors and I was honored to do so for several years. This organization has a long and impressive record of standing up for many worthy causes, including glbt rights. They certainly deserve the support of our community.

How about LGBT results first? Let's create a pool of money and pay "prizes" for results. All this "trying" is really getting old.

I'm a huge fan of ADA's work, and if there is an organization that I'm crazy for outside of the homocentric world that I immerse myself in, its ADA!