Thursday, March 18, 2010

DADT Update - HRC Rally Results in Three Arrests including Lt Dan Choi

This morning at a rally hosted by HRC/Bravo and Kathy Griffin in Washington, DC, Lt Dan Choi and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo were arrested in front of the White House for handcuffing themselves to the gates.
Griffin helped plan the rally to film it for an upcoming episode of her Bravo show, My Life on the D List.

Choi's actions were apparently not known to HRC and Griffin, prior, although grassroots organizers had been working on this show of action for a while with Choi.
Sirius radio show host Michelangelo Signorile tweeted, "Dan Choi took HRC's and Kathy Griffin's celebrity photo op an dturned it into a real protest."
Queerty commented: "While the ineffective Human Rights Campaign sits idly by and plays with celebrities, we're witnessing a more renegade approach to securing equality going on this minute."
After the rally took place, a march of around 500 protesters left the rally and headed toward the White House, where the two servicemen handcuffed themselves to the fence in protest of the ongoing debate over repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell while protesters chanted "Keep your promise Obama!".

They were both promptly arrested. Robin McGehee - a key leader from Meet in The Middle, Get Equal, and The National Equality March was also arrested for helping them.
(pictured left, Griffin with HRC's Joe Solmonese )
Pietrangelo was discharged in 2004, Choi is up for discharge.

Choi addressed the crowd before handcuffing himself to the fence, "We are at a turning point. We are calling you to action because when there is a moment when no talk can get us any further, action is absolutely required."

What's disappointing is that Griffin allegedly did NOT accompany Choi to the White House, even though she was invited, which means none of it got caught for her show!
Griffin tweeted, "It was my honor 2 share th podium w Lt Dan Choi today. I understand he's been arrested in front of the White House. I dig that dude! Balls!"
THIS IS GAY DRAMA BECAUSE: HRC got a lot of heat when they did not endorse the National Equality March stating they felt rallies were ineffective. Yet now, they are doing a rally, although it seems largely motivated to garner publicity on Bravo since it's being tapped for My Life on the D List. Kathy Griffin is a huge supporter of LGBT rights and did a show last year on the Prop 8 issue in California. Regarding the first rally at Freedom Plaza, twittered that Joe Solmonese - the organization's ED - stated, "This is a Bravo event."
The same weekend of the National Equality March, HRC hosted a black tie dinner which drew more than a few harsh criticisms from the lgbti community when they were viewed as "hob nobbing" with the DC politicos more than pressuring them to keep their promises. Signorile called out Solomnese on CNN after this, to which the HRC ED commented that the radio show host was outside the event because he couldn't get tickets to the show.
HRC issued this statement this afternoon:
"Today more than 1000 people showed up at a rally - 500 of which signed up to become more involved in the fight to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Joe Solmonese along with Eric Alva and others felt it was important to stay and engage those at the rally in ways they can continue building the pressure needed for repeal. This does nothing to diminish the actions taken by Lt. Choi and others. This is the nature of social change and everyone has a role to play."

Joy Behar will be covering this rally and the subsequent protest and arrests on her show this evening on HLN.
This is all occurring on a day when there are also massive sit in protests in San Francisco over ENDA.
Here's Choi's speech before he locked himself to the gates:

And here's the CNN live report showing the arrests:

More info and video at
The Huffington Post and The Gawker.

photos: Scott Roewer/

No comments: