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posted Friday, May 21, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 21
GetEQUAL, Unity Mississippi and other State, Local Pro-Equality and Religious Orgs. Team up to Fight Hate
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GetEQUAL, Unity Mississippi and other State, Local Pro-Equality and Religious Orgs. Team up to Fight Hate

Statewide 'Equality Caravan' will honor slain gay civil rights leader Harvey Milk; Counteract Anti-American, Bigoted Phelps Clan

WASHINGTON, D.C. - GetEQUAL, a new direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) national civil rights organization, announced today that they are bringing their grassroots activism to Mississippi this weekend.

GetEQUAL, the organization that has helped focus the national dialogue back on issues of LGBT equality through direct actions and non-violent civil disobedience, will join forces this Saturday with Unity Mississippi and other state and local religious organizations to draw attention to the inequalities and discrimination that Mississippi's LGBT community face each day. The groups will participate in an "Equality Caravan" starting with a rally at the steps of the State Capitol at 9:00 am on Saturday, May 22, 2010 to honor the life of slain gay civil rights leader Harvey Milk. The caravan will then proceed to Fulton, MS to join in a peaceful counter-protest of vile hate speech of Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church. The counter-protest of Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church, known best for picketing the funerals of both gay and straight U.S. soldiers killed while defending freedom, will also take place on Saturday from 3:00 to 4:00 pm.

"The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Mississippi has had to live with the dark stain of inequality for far too long and as their neighbor, mother, father, and fellow parishioner, it is the duty of all Mississippians to honor our country's founding principles of equality and freedom for all," said Robin McGehee, co-founder of GetEQUAL and a native of Jackson, MS.

"It's an honor for me to come back to my home state and join hands with my brothers and sisters in the Mississippi LGBT community and claim our God given right to a life free of discrimination and fear. The stain of equality has for too long tarnished the image of our great state and now is our opportunity to wash it away -- for good."

"The international headlines involving the deplorable treatment of several young people in Mississippi should be a wake-up call not just for the LGBT community, but for everyone in our state," said Knol Aust, Chair of Unity Mississippi. "We can no longer remain silent. All people in Mississippi deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, equality, and fairness. The rally and caravan offer an opportunity for the caring, fair-minded, rational people of Mississippi to take a stand against hatred and discrimination."

In April of this year, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of Constance McMillen, a student at Itawamba Agricultural High School. The lawsuit was filed after School Board officials notified the school and the students that they were cancelling prom this year simply because Constance was a lesbian and wanted to attend the prom with her girlfriend. After the story received national and international headlines, Constance gained respect and recognition throughout the world.

The organizations endorsing these peaceful efforts include Unity Mississippi, Parents Friends/Family of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG) Jackson, PFLAG Laurel, PFLAG Tupelo, the University of Southern Mississippi Gay Straight Alliance, GetEQUAL, the Libertarian Party of Mississippi, A Brave New Day, Safe Harbor Family Church, Standing on the Side of Love, and First Christian Church of Jackson. These groups endorse the rallies as the most effective way to promote a message of tolerance and inclusion in Mississippi. The caravan and rallies are being promoted and information will also be updated on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=100377460007104 - and on the website http://www.dignitycaravan.com .) For more information, please contact Knol Aust (601-672-7181/knol.aust@unityms.org ) or Jenni Smith (601-566-3722/jsmith601@gmail.com ).

**For media requests or to book a Robin McGehee, co-founder of GetEQUAL and native of Jackson, MS, for an interview, please contact Brad Luna at 202-812-8140 or via email at luna.brad@gmail.com.

GetEQUAL is a new direct action national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. Emphasizing direct action and people power, the mission of GetEQUAL is to empower the LGBT community and its allies to take action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information on GetEQUAL, please visit:

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