If you missed the original interview Arisha conducted with Karyme Lozano, check it out before reading this post. Quite the goings-on today. Keep in touch, Karyme! — Adam
By Arisha Michelle Hatch
Stop #18: Stockton
Twenty minutes after 10 AM, the Vota Bus finally arrived at Weber Point park in Stockton with three large vans filled with 42 (predominantly Latino and male) members of an organization called Victory Outreach, a Christian men’s group that does outreach in inner-city communities. Three local equality supporters also stopped by to check things out. Here’s the Christian men’s group:
“I don’t know why I’m here,” one man said. “We’re just following the leader.”
Arisha talking to the pastor with Victory Outreach
It appears that Vota Tus Valores learned a little bit from yesterday’s events and are now attempting to organize. Can they keep it up? Will progressives continue to come out in opposition? Only time will tell.
A few notes on the tour setup. The Vota Bus is accompanied by three advance cars: two white Dodge Caravans (one has Nevada plates and the other has California plates), as well as a gray Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Yesterday, the general practice seemed to be that 2 cars would scout the initial location – take note of any organized counter-protest and radio back to the Vota Bus. The caravan with California plates would then lead the Vota Bus to the scheduled location or to some sort of abandoned parking/Mexican restaurant based on some set of criteria that I can’t figure out.
My hunch is that they avoid locations with viable counter-protest unless there is some compelling reason that they must go to the location (like when a major news outlet is expected). Flashmob counter-protests may be the most effective way to counter.
Stop #19: Modesto
In Modesto, the Vota Bus stopped at a local farmers’ market bringing with them the three vans from Victory Outreach. Should we count those 42 in the tally again?
The Courage media blackout is still in effect. I kind of understand it, I wouldn’t want Alfonso speaking for my organization either. Karyme Lozano got a little feisty this morning as Alfonso rejected yet another interview.
“We saw your blog and we should see that you don’t show the truth, you change the truth,” Lozano said as she was hurried back onto the bus. I asked her and her comrades what exactly I “lied” about and she refused to respond. Watch:
Attention You cannot go around with a camera in a person’s face. It’s called freedom of movement. You’re harassing and being intolerant which is ironic because you say you are so tolerant.” Watch (he hurls this accusation starting at about the 0:53 mark):
Later at the Los Banos stop – attended by seven supporters – a tour security guard told us on-camera that her exit was pre-scheduled; however, this conflicts with other reports we received on the ground. Sources close to the tour had no idea that Karyme had even left. The guard’s statement would be more believable coming from a more reliable source. The security guard has been extremely hostile to us throughout the tour.
Fiorina/Vota Tus Valores supporters
There were also those with pro-equality views
Minutes after issuing the statement, he apologized (off-camera) to our videographer Anthony for stepping on his foot while he was attempting to film an exchange between Alfonso and a counter-protester in San Jose. He said that it was unintentional because he has an artificial leg. Perhaps this is true, but it doesn’t explain why he intentionally bumped Anthony twice with force on two separate occasions prior to the incident.
We previously opted not to report this information, but now that the guard has chosen to give a conflicting on-the-record account with respect to Karyme’s departure, we feel that the facts go to his credibility.
Now, you be the judge, did I cross the line with Karyme? Did Adam’s earlier post on her participation in San Francisco Pride strike some sort of nerve with Karyme, the Vota Tus Valores organizers or the National Organization for Marriage?
We can only speculate because Alfonso refuses to comment to us about anything.
Here’s Karyme Lozano, Mexican telenovela star, in 2008:
That was at the San Francisco Gay Pride parade, where she was crowned Queen.
Here’s Karyme Lozano on tour with Vota Tus Valores:
I especially like the comparison of sexual orientation and the desire to go after one of the same sex to the temptation to go after “chocolate.”
The other thing about Lozano is that you can tell why they’re not letting her talk anymore. If you watch Lozano’s reaction to the news that her tour sponsor, NOM, spends millions to deny the freedom to marry to same-sex couples, and how that may conflict with her statement that she’s not trying to be judgmental, it seems she is, with respect, (a) fairly ignorant of what actually is going on with respect to who NOM is and what they do (b) concerned about alienating her fans and gay friends.
You watch her grimacing and her confused, murmured responses to Arisha’s points about that and it certainly comes across that Lozano doesn’t want to be seen as an “activist standing up boldly for traditional marriage” activist in the NOM mold. If they let her interact with us, she might actually end up saying something way off-message.
What do you think of her?
UPDATE BY EDEN: In the comments, Daniel Morales just reported:
Karyme Lozano just announced on twitter that she is leaving the tour right after Fresno… Was she fired? will she not finish the day’s campaign?
(Translation: Fresno is my last stop on the bus tour and then hone. Yeah! I will see my mom, my baby and my own bed!
@karymelozano Fresno es ml uTlma parada del bus tour, y. Ahl. Caslta! Yey! Voy a ver a ml maa a ml baby y Ml camlta!
Sidenote: she sent several tweets begging people to come see her in Fresno but nobody replied…
Let’s hope NOM’s streak of failing to oust pro-equality candidates continues. Also, if you haven’t seen the new NOMexposed site because of site problems when it launched, click on the banner above. -Adam
Marriage in fear quotes? The idea that NOM is part of Maine’s “special way of life,” even while sending the mailer from their DC address? NOM asking voters to fill up representatives’ personal emails with either praise or condemnation? Chatter about kids that become part of the next generation, while completely overlooking the fact — THE FACT! — that a portion of those kids will be LGBT? Light pink roses for a fall wedding?!
Ugh. Sorry, trees that had to die to for this astroturfed silliness.
Apologies, folks. This post got hung up in the tubes last night. — Eden
(Stop #12, at the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, was covered yesterday here. Meanwhile, watch below where Alfonso says in response to the question “where are all your [supporters]?” when they encountered protesters in Napa, he replied, “all the Latinos are working while you’re out here wasting your time.” Of course, if it were the reverse, I’m sure it’d be a different story. — Adam)
By Arisha Michelle Hatch
Stop #13: Napa
In Napa, 32 counter-protesters greeted the Vota Bus tour with chants of “more jobs, more jobs.”
As this was the first vocal counter-protest of the tour, the Vota Bus staff didn’t know what to do. Alfonso and a few others got off the bus briefly, attempting to shout over the counter-protesters’ chants.
East San Jose did the progressive community proud today.
Because it was in East San Jose, because the counter-protest was predominantly Latino and because the local NBC affiliate was present to interview Alfonso, the Vota Bus had no choice but to stay and confront it.
And they tried – some were more effective than others. Alfonso is the least skilled – his temper rages and rather than attempting to dial down his tone and present himself as the rational person in the debate, he gets frustrated and tries to talk the loudest.
“Your barrio pass has been revoked,” one Latino activist shouted from a megaphone. He later led a chant of “te vendistes, te vendistes” meaning “you sold yourself.” Alfonso’s response was to tell the crowd that they were failing their community and their race before hurrying back onto the bus.
Alfonso, trust me, there’s no shouting-down that guy. You’ve either got to pull him to the side, find out his story and present him with facts that appeal to his personal values or focus on a different person. Remember, you’re the politician; Brian Brown understood this.
I don’t know what Alfonso is thinking, but I do know that he’s slowly driving himself and everyone else in that bus into a ditch of political failure.
In addition to poor planning and even poorer execution, Alfonso has now instituted a media blackout against the Courage Campaign NOM Tour Trackers which officially means that we’re in control of the narrative. Ninety-eight percent of the articles written about this tour will be by us.
My guess is that Alfonso thinks silence will make us go away. It’s an interesting tactic; Brian Brown tried that tactic on the third day that I was on the Summer of Marriage tour too when he tried to have our videographer arrested in Anapolis, Maryland. He later realized that he might as well just talk to us, but he’s not as confident as Brian.
There are, in my opinion, several reasons why Alfonso’s calculation is wrong:
1) Although he may think the Courage Campaign and the P8TT community is irrelevant, apparently he isn’t watching the Glenn Beck show on FOX News. Check out Beck’s attack on Courage and some other organizations on Tuesday;
2) He doesn’t understand who we are — we did 40 days and 9,000 miles in 100% humidity; this team can do 10 days down the California coast in our sleep;
3) You’re in our state now. The car is already paid for and we all have to get back to southern California anyway;
4) But more importantly, their silence is the real story anyway — it reinforces everything that appears so negative about this tour; it’s not engaging, has no targeting and there’s no attempt to have a discourse that feels empowering or aimed at changing the hearts and minds of anyone they encounter.
Let me say that I know that many people on the Vota Bus are well-intentioned. They want to have that dialogue – it’s the reason they jumped on the bus to begin with.
Tomorrow, I’d like to introduce you to a few of the more open-minded tour organizers. I’ll introduce you to Alan, an anti-choice musician who is quickly becoming my favorite person on the tour because he’s not afraid of discourse or having his views challenged.
Stop #17: San Mateo
In San Mateo, the Vota Bus was met by 14 equality counter-protesters from organizations like PFLAG and Marriage Equality USA. Tour organizers made marginal attempts to engage about 4 people who were sitting in the local park and two of the volunteer organizers attempted to have a civil discourse with two of the equality supporters.
Bob Carter, PFLAG member
Overall, they still appeared somewhat rattled by the stop in San Jose.
But for now, good night. I wonder what the central valley has in store for us tomorrow?
The federal judge who ruled that California’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional says he is stepping down from the bench.
The San Francisco-based federal court says Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker notified President Barack Obama by letter on Wednesday that he will leave the court in February.
Walker did not state why he was stepping down. Matthew Bajko of the Bay Area Reporter quotes Walker:
“Concluding 21 years of judicial service, I leave the bench with the highest respect and regard for the federal judiciary, its judges and their staff and the essential role they fulfill in our constitutional system.”
As the Judge Walker’s adjudication of the Prop 8 trial is over, this does not appear to have any impact on the case now before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Matt previously wrote about this worthwhile effort — inspired by Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project — here. With the advent of internet-based activism, I think it’s always useful to find quick things people can do to help better the world, and here’s another one. Me, I’m going to record mine this Sunday.
Stay tuned tonight for coverage from the rest of today’s stops.-Adam
By Matt Baume
A big huge thanks to all the folks who showed up Sunday to help us tape a message from San Francisco to LGBT youth who feel lonely and isolated wherever they are. As the video says: it gets better!
We had a wonderful turnout, and everyone had amazing stories to tell from tear-jerkers to happy endings. Please do let me know what you think of the finished product: I’d love to hear your feedback for future videos.
And of course it’s never too late to make your own! This video tells the story of a very particular kind of person: someone who moved to San Francisco and is engaged in the activist community. But there are tons of other LGBT individuals out there whose lives are very different from those of the folks we met this weekend.
So please, keep telling your stories! Whether we’re sharing them with isolated youth or with our families or with each other, the more we see of each other, the more connected we become.
Since I posted this video, Dan Savage has put out a call for people in other cities to create similar messages. I would love to see more group videos come out in the days and weeks ahead. It is totally easy to do, so there’s no excuse not to! I put this video together in a matter of days and with very few resources, so I know you can, too. All it took was deciding to do it, emailing some friends to ask for their help, and emailing a few organizations to see if they could lend a hand. The response was phenomenal, and I can’t wait to see what sort of response this video inspires.
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