Yesterday, Lt Dan Choi and a fellow veteran had themselves handcuffed to the White House fence to peacefully protest the Obama administration’s empty words and lack of action on ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This disgraceful policy allows over 600 military servicemembers per year to be tossed out of the military merely for sexual orientation. They were arrested and held overnight in jail, incommunicado.
Protesters also staged sit ins at Speaker Pelosi’s offices in San Francisco and Washington DC.
A spokesperson for Nancy Pelosi’s office said, this morning, that “they didn’t have the votes” to do anything this year.
Robin McGehee of Fresno, CA, of GetEqual, who was at the arraignment in Washington, DC, is reporting that Lt Dan Choi and Capt Jim Pietrangelo, have been arraigned before the judge this afternoon, and have pled Not Guilty. They have now been released from federal custody and will go to trial April 26. http://twitter.com/speechadvice
“We will not admit guilt in our fight for equality”
“We may have been caged up physically, but many are caged up in their heart.”
– Lt. Dan Choi March 19, 2010
Americablog also had witnesses there yesterday and disputes another version of events being put out by another LGTB group.
Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo should be released from jail today. They were arrested yesterday after handcuffing themselves to the fence in front of the White House to protest Obama’s inaction on repealing DADT. The President plays a key role in that legislation, but despite a vow to do it in the State of the Union, the White House isn’t moving. It was the first time I’ve seen civil disobedience up close. And, it was intense. To think it’s come to this with the Obama administration. But, it has. This week, Barney Frank made it abundantly clear that the White House really needed to speak out on its desire to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell this year. That was Monday. No word from the White House, which says everything. There is no plan, despite the promises. It seems that everyone in DC knows that, but not everyone will admit it.
There is a plan, Joe. They’re going to ignore you until you make yourself heard, which requires many different ways. Just like with ending the mid east war expansions, getting everybody into a real health care system and not just a junk insurance plan, or forcing the banks to stop stealing people’s life savings, or making the government do something about carbon emissions besides more Nukes, or preserving a woman’s right to chose to bear children.
So don’t let somebody tell you it’s better to use your time to make phone calls on behalf of OFA instead of reading, writing, talking, blogging, protesting, photographing, communicating, and badgering incumbents and candidates.
We’ve (anybody who needs equality, and that is all of us, rich, poor, all colors, all genders, all faiths) got a plan, too.
updated to add link to my diary yesterday, and the americablog link