It was shock to many when Proposition 8 passed in the state of California. Let’s face it, for many of my gay friends, they viewed California, especially Los Angeles, as the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) land of milk and honey, not the Bible belt. The outcry was loud and the rallies were huge, but yet nothing happened. Soon, state after state where gay marriages were allowed, laws were quickly overturned and the union between man and man and woman and woman were no longer valid. It left me with a heavy heart.
Late last year in D.C., I ran into my friend Yosi Sergant. He had moved out to Washington after his successful “Manifest Hope” campaign for Obama and taken a job within his ranks. But after an interior fall out, he was making his way back home to Los Angeles and on his agenda was to raise awareness against Prop. 8. I recall his regret for not helping more when Prop. 8 had failed the LGBT community. I remember him saying that he should have done more, but couldn’t because he was focused on “White House issues”. But what I will never forget is looking at Yosi as he explained to me exactly what he was going to do. Using art as his medium once again, he would take this muddled social issue and make it into a powerful visual people could understand. He was determined and when he got home, he hit the ground running.
Under six themes: Equality, Justice, Respect, Civil Rights, Unity, and Love, Manifest Equality brings together artists such as Barry McGee, Swoon, Robbie Conal, Jim Goldberg, and 100 more, creating and donating art to help educate the masses. Yosi, Apple Via and Jennifer Gross pooled their resources, knowledge, and rolodexes to spread the word. From Marisa Tomei to Heather Graham, Jason Lee to Daryl Hannah, the list goes on as they came to the opening night to lend their name and their support for the unrestricted equality for all Americans.
The most touching part of the evening had to be Cleve Jones, activist and friend of slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk. His impassioned speech brought many to tears. His words and his actions, remind us that the fight is not over, and won’t be till we take a stand. We can change the world, but we can only do so if we act.
I think we forget the transgressions we have faced as a race, and we went through to slowly overcome our obstacles. I think we forget those, like the LGBT, who fight everyday for their own rights. Let’s try not to forget.
You can’t help who you love, and shouldn’t hate or judge because their love seems different compared to yours. Love is Love.
**Manifest Equality Gallery. March 3rd-7th
1341 Vine St., Hollywood
Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free.