[Marxism] Farrakhan invites black gay group to rally

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Aug 28 10:57:05 MDT 2005

(The Blade is the leading LGBT newspaper in the nation's capital.

(Minister Farrakhan evidently doesn't need a weatherman to know 
which way the wind blows. Considering the negative attitude we've 
so often seen in Islamic countries toward homosexuality, this is 
a development of considerable significance. It represents a further
deepening of the Nation of Islam's pro-Cuba, pro-Assata, pro-Hugo
Chavez, pro-Venezuela and anti-imperialist political stands today.
Don't take my word for it: Check them: http://www.finalcall.com/ )

LOCAL NEWS | washingtonblade.com

Farrakhan invites black
gay group to rally
NBJC accepts request to be 'co-convener' of Millions More event

Aug. 26, 2005

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has invited the nation's
largest African-American gay civil rights organization to become one
of about 100 co-conveners of the Millions More Movement rally, which
is expected draw thousands of blacks to Washington, D.C. on Oct. 15.

In a letter dated Aug. 15, Farrakhan invited the National Black
Justice Coalition to take on the duties of a co-convener, which
includes recruiting participants for the rally and helping organize
the event on the local and national levels. The group said it
received the letter Aug. 23.

H. Alexander Robinson, executive director of the NBJC, said he sent
Farrakhan an immediate letter of response accepting the invitation.
Robinson said his letter called on Farrakhan to arrange for a lesbian
and gay man to speak at a rally on the National Mall, which will
commemorate the 10th anniversary of Farrakhan's 1995 Million Man

Robinson and other black gay leaders said Farrakhan's action will not
change their plans to hold their own rally in D.C.'s Freedom Plaza at
8 a.m. on Oct. 15, on the morning of the Millions More Movement
rally. Some black gay leaders and their supporters attending the
Freedom Plaza rally expect to march to the main rally on the National
Mall following their own event.

Other black gay events are scheduled for the weekend of the Millions
More Movement rally, including a reception and a worship service.

Most of the nation's black civil rights organizations have endorsed
the Millions More Movement events, saying Farrakhan has embraced a
far broader coalition of participants than the 1995 event. Farrakhan
has said the event is aimed at rallying blacks to seek
self-improvement and justice as a means of overcoming widespread
poverty, crime and other problems that affect African Americans.

A symbolic gesture?

Black gay leaders had mixed views over the significance of
Farrakhan's invitation to the NBJC, with some calling it historic and
others expressing caution, saying it appeared to be little more than

The Millions More Movement "is for all of us" and is aimed at
creating "a tent big enough for all of us to come together,"
Farrakhan said in his letter.

Farrakhan did not mention the word "gay" or "lesbian" in his letter
and did not agree to longstanding requests by the NBJC that the
Millions More Movement address the issue of homophobia and arrange
for a gay man and a lesbian speaker to address the Oct. 15 rally.

"While I would not count this as a victory, it is not a defeat,"
Robinson said in an e-mail message to black gay activists informing
them of Farrakhan's invitation.

Since the beginning of the year, Robinson has been lobbying the
Millions More Movement leaders to include his group and other black
gay leaders in the event's planning process. Up until this week,
Robinson said, Farrakhan and his top aides have ignored Robinson's

Black gays in D.C., led by activist Phil Pannell, have waged a
simultaneous effort to persuade Millions More Movement officials to
recognize an ad hoc group of local black gay activists as one of the
official organizing committees for the event.

Response to Wilson sermon?

Farrakhan's invitation this week follows a controversial, July 3
sermon by the Rev. Willie Wilson, who Farrakhan appointed as
executive director of the Millions More Movement events. Speaking
from the pulpit of Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast D.C.,
where he serves as pastor, Wilson accused lesbians of attempting to
"take over" the black family and made disparaging remarks about
sexual acts among gays.

Union Temple is considered one of the city's most prominent Baptist
congregations and Wilson is considered one of the city's most
politically influential ministers.

His sermon attacking lesbians and gays drew expressions of outrage by
black gay activists and has been credited with boosting the meeting
attendance and membership of the D.C. Coalition of Black Lesbians &

The refusal - until this week - by the Millions More Movement to
recognize black gay participation and Wilson's sermon also triggered
a large turnout on Sunday, Aug. 21, of the monthly meeting of an ad
hoc committee of black gay activists who have been pushing for gay
inclusion in the Millions More events.

More than 180 people turned out at the New York Avenue Presbyterian
Church for the ad hoc group meeting, according to Pannell. D.C.
Councilmembers Adrian Fenty (D-Ward 4) and Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7)
and mayoral candidate Michael Brown spoke to the crowd, pledging to
support efforts to gain official recognition of the concerns of black
gays by the Millions More Movement.

Straight allies lobby Farrakhan

Carlene Cheatam, co-chair of the D.C. Coalition, said efforts by
black gay activists in D.C. and the NBJC to persuade nationally known
black civil rights leaders to rally to their support played a key
role in Farrakhan's decision to invite the NBJC to become a

Among those who have telephoned or sent letters to Farrakhan urging
him to include black gays in the planning process for the Millions
More Movement, Cheatam said, were veteran civil rights leader Julian
Bond, D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Mayor
Anthony Williams, and D.C. mayoral candidate Brown.

"This is an historic act," she said, in describing Farrakhan's
decision to invite a black gay group to take part in the Millions
More Movement events.

"It's another step toward gaining inclusion," Cheatam said.

Pannell called Farrakhan's action a "minor victory," saying that
while Farrakhan granted the NBJC co-convener status, he did not
appoint the group to be a member of the more influential Millions
More Movement steering committee, which makes policy decisions for
the Millions More Movement events.

"Being a co-convener is almost like being on a laundry list," Pannell
said. "It's easy for them to say this is important, but it doesn't
get us into the inner sanctum."

Pannell noted that Rev. Wilson, who runs the day-to-day organizing of
the Millions More Movement events, appears to be unchanged. Wilson
issued an apology for his sermon following widespread criticism by
local black leaders, but later reiterated his claims that
"lesbianism" remains a serious threat to African-American teenage

Wilson did not return a call this week seeking comment on Farrakhan's
decision to invite the NBJC to become a convener of the Millions More
Movement events. Wilson's church was scheduled to host a planning
meeting on the Millions More events Saturday, Aug. 27, at Union
Temple Church.

A spokesperson for Farrakhan could not be reached by press time.

Sterling Washington, the other co-chair of the D.C. Coalition, said
he and other Coalition members plan to attend the meeting and raise
questions about black gay participation in the events.

C 2005 The Washington Blade | A Window Media Publication

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