Friday, November 21, 2008

A Letter to "gen O"

A letter to Amy Balliette ( & SaraBeth Brooks (
Dear Amy & SaraBeth, and all you new, fantastic “Generation O” organizers:
Thanks for stepping out to finish this revolution! Whew, finally! Heard you on "Feminist Magazine" (KPFK Radio) last night, and saw you at all these rallies and marches everywhere since Nov.4th. You have inspired me --- a retired lesbian community organizer from the days of Prop.6 (Briggs Initiative that tried to throw out gay teachers) and Prop. 64 (AIDS Quarantine Initiative), to come out of retirement! And get to blogging some of my stories and tips as to how we won these ballot initiatives in the 70s and 80s, and how we built the gay civil rights movement. So here’s tip #1 from my life -- and the UCLA Grad School of Community Organizing back in 1970, when I was nineteen or twenty too: 1. Marches/rallies create energy. Energy needs to be channeled towards goals. Goals need to be: *Achievable (within our lifetime) *Clear & specific (not vague) *Bold (pushing the envelope, inspiring -- like Mr. 0). I like the idea of the Boston Tea Party. Especially if you can get Boston gays (and straight allies) to spearhead that day and throw bags of our income tax reports into Boston Harbor. The rest of us can bag them and burn them on the steps of City Halls, or if we want to be polite, just leave them on the s teps with a note to the Major attached. 2. Tip Numero Dos: Tell straight friends we want and need them in our struggle. They can do the same thing we need to do: Dialog with those who don’t understand. I went to the Pasadena rally Nov. 15 and saw, out of 300 people, that half were straight! Was I shocked, and delighted! If all young people merged as One, like you did for Obama, we’d all be equal real soon. If I can be of any help to you organizers out there, write me at this blog & I’ll answer your questions, or find some other activist who knows more than I do.
Jeanne Cordova, M.S.W., is a lesbian feminist community organizer, journalist, author, butch, Chicana, writer, old, wise, pioneering elder of the GLBT community, who first voted for Hill, but swung over to O because Michelle is so awesome.

PS You can hear the Nov 19th radio interview at