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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why Does OutFront Minnesota Participate in Ripple Effect?

I got OutFront Minnesota's weekly newsletter which mentioned their participation in Ripple Effect. I sent them the following:

What does Ripple Effect have to do with OutFront's Mission on GLBT? This suggests that not only is OutFront Minnesota a partisan organization - but a far left one at that. The Ripple Effect event promo you have on your site doesn't even mention GLBT - are you happy with being closeted among the "progressive" left?

When has OutFront Minnesota participated in an event with other "non-partisan" organizations such as the Taxpayer's League?

This type of thing gives the Governor a reasonable excuse to avoid talking to OutFront Minnesota - and he should not have such an excuse. You have a responsibility to be working with republicans - especially with your funding level. Log Cabin Republicans in MN does not have the resources to carry that ball.

I'm interested in your response for Lloydletta's Nooz.

OutFront responded with this statement:

Hi Eva – here’s our statement in response to your earlier questions:

OutFront Minnesota is participating in Ripple Effect as a way to engage people in the upcoming election, particularly to do voter registration among young people who will be a significant part of the audience at this event. Voter registration is a 501 c (3) activity which we engage in year round, including in non-election years.

This voter outreach work is unrelated to party affiliation. OutFront Minnesota works to encourage Minnesotans at workplaces, places of worship, concerts, farmers markets and other venues to vote and become politically engaged in the movement for GLBT equality year-round. If the Democratic National Convention were being held here, we would be doing the same work.

We reach out to people in all parties; as evidenced by the fact that we had bipartisan support for our legislative initiatives in 2007 and 2008. We work to educate all lawmakers on GLBT equality and we meet with lawmakers who are willing to meet with us.

OutFront Minnesota does outreach everywhere we can, at venues where we’re welcome. We’ve been invited and are participating in a Log Cabin Republican event during convention week to continue further our mission of encouraging elected officials and constituents to advocate boldly for GLBT equality.

We encourage your readers to view OutFront Minnesota’s statement on the RNC which states, in part, It is critical to engage fair-minded people of all political parties in the work of dismantling homophobia and heterosexism. We applaud those who work within the political party of their choice to advance policies favoring GLBT equality. No one political party has all the answers, and no one political party contributes alone to the problems.

Finally, OutFront Minnesota works with numerous nonpartisan organizations who, in turn, support GLBT equality as part of their own work.

GLBT is totally invisible in the description of the Ripple Event. It appears that the left treats gays like the crazy aunt in the attic. OutFront appears to have no objection to this.


Nolan - Substance said...

Hi -

I'm Nolan Morice, one of the main organizers behind Ripple Effect. I saw your concerns and thought I'd take a minute to address them:

Ripple Effect is a non-partisan event. Progressive politics are not defined by a particular political party. There are progressive democrats and there are progressive republicans. For an example of the latter, simply check out the center for Growth and justice's event the day after Ripple Effect at the St. Paul College Club titled "Minnesota's Progressive Republican Tradition."

Ripple Effect is NOT a protest event. Ripple Effect is a gathering of progressive activists and progressive activist organizations to engage in education, trainings, and workshops surrounded by art and music.

We chose to do this outside of the Republican National Convention because we know how many people passionate about social change will be there. We are a small organization made up of three undergraduate activists right here in the Twin Cities. If we had the capacity, we would have loved to put the same event on in Denver.

As for your statement - "GLBT is totally invisible in the description of the Ripple Event. It appears that the left treats gays like the crazy aunt in the attic. "

This is the description of Ripple Effect, as taken from our website and press release:

"'Ripple Effect' - a daylong festival propelling a new wave of progressive action outside the RNC - will go beyond the convention and beyond partisanship to empower and unite a diverse range of people with varying backgrounds and interests.

By creating a safe, positive space for artists, activists, and the general public to gather, Ripple Effect will take the energy spurred by the Republican National Convention and be a catalyst to further the already burgeoning global movement for sustainability, justice, and equality."

If you would take notice - there is not any one specific issue highlighted in the description. This is due to the incredibly broad array of issues being dealt with at Ripple Effect that fit into the areas of "Sustainability, Justice, and Equality". Gay rights fits into the last of the three.

I, myself, have been handling the majority of the press for the event - and whenever I am asked about the organizations involved, the first one that comes to mind is OutFront Minnesota - because I believe that OutFront is a prime example of what we're trying to do with Ripple Effect - bridging barriers to further social change. So that is why I felt the need to write this lengthy of a response.

In conclusion - I invite you and others interested in working for progressive causes (and gay rights is a progressive cause, in my opinion) across the political spectrum to join us on the Capitol Lawn in what will be a very powerful and peaceful event for positive, progressive change.

Nolan Morice | Substance