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Filed under: Testimony

Dan Choi gives his Testimony

By Adam Bink

Last week at Netroots Nation, Dan Choi gave his Testimony to Courage’s Ana Beatriz Cholo as part of the Dustin Lance Black challenge:

We now have 172 video Testimonies submitted for the Dustin Lance Black challenge, for which the deadline is extended until July 4th. The contest is meant to showcase stories of equality to move hearts and minds. Lance will pick three of the most compelling stories, pack up his camera crew, and fly to wherever they are from to film the stories for TV. In some states, like Tennessee, where their elected officials just finished stripping LGBT residents of any possible rights and are on their way to “don’t say gay”, that may mean the first-ever TV advertising showing gays in a positive light. And we’ll begin the process of repealing that law.

You can give your Testimony here. Share your story and share it with friends. Let’s change some hearts and minds.

5 Comments June 21, 2011

172 and counting

By Adam Bink

We now have 172 video Testimonies submitted for the Dustin Lance Black challenge, for which the deadline is extended until July 4th. The contest is meant to showcase stories of equality to move hearts and minds. Lance will pick three of the most compelling stories, pack up his camera crew, and fly to wherever they are from to film the stories for TV. In some states, like Tennessee, where their elected officials just finished stripping LGBT residents of any possible rights and are on their way to “don’t say gay”, that may mean the first-ever TV advertising showing gays in a positive light. And we’ll begin the process of repealing that law.

One story I wanted to highlight today comes from Nina in Phoenix, mother of 3, living with her partner, and dealing with the challenges of medical staff who just don’t understand. One of the reasons we fight for full equality. Click here to watch this amazing video.

Click here to submit your own Testimony. The quality of the video isn’t critical; the quality of the story is.

Why story do you, or your friend, family member or colleague, have about equality?

9 Comments June 20, 2011

Fighting LGBT bullying in schools, with an assist

By Adam Bink

We at the Courage Campaign Institute, of which is a project, are holding steady at #2 in the Pepsi: Refresh Everything contest to win $50,000 from Pepsi to fund our LGBT equality work. In fact, for nearly two weeks, we and Tapestry Charter School (which, as it happens, is located about 20 minutes from the house in which I grew up, in Buffalo, NY) have been slotted #1 and #2. They must have an army of kids who hear a bell everyday after lunch, drop what they’re doing, vote on their computers, vote by text message, and go buy a bottle of Pepsi from the vending machine to get extra voting codes. Like well-oiled machines, those charters.

Anyway, if you haven’t voted, please do. Three reasons why:

1) It’s nice to get some corporate moolah (with no strings attached, to boot), because

2) It saves us from having to ask folks like you to chip in to fund the projects we do, and

3) We can run projects like working on fighting bullying in schools, the Dustin Lance Black challenge, making stories like Ed and Derence’s more visible in the media, and so forth. And that makes our community more visible, which helps change hearts and minds. That’s like a three-fer, maybe a four-fer, at least!

So please vote here, every single day until the end of the month. If we’re in the top 10 on June 30th, we win! You can use your Facebook account to vote, or sign up for a Pepsi account, it’s your choice (and you can always unsubscribe if the latter at the end of the month).

You can also vote by texting our code “106897” to the number “73774” on your phone.

You can also sign up here for a daily reminder to vote for us and the rest of the four cool non-profits on the Progressive Slate, including One Colorado, which is working to enact civil unions in Colorado. You literally get a daily reminder in your inbox (make sure to check spam), click, vote, and 6 seconds later you’re done. An example of today’s that landed in my inbox is below:

Dear Adam,

This is your daily reminder to cast your votes for Courage Campaign and the Progressive Slate groups today! There are several ways you can cast your votes each day:

Get started by going to the Pepsi site and log in with your Pepsi profile in using the bar at the bottom. After you’re logged in, come back to this email and click on each of the five links below:

Having other problems? Click here to see some frequently asked questions about voting.

And if you drink Pepsi, you’re our new best friend, because that means you may have special Power Vote codes under the cap or inside the package, which are worth up to one hundred votes when you enter them. You can enter them here, or e-mail them to me and I’ll enter them.

Thanks for helping to fund this work we do together!

9 Comments June 12, 2011

The power of storytelling

Please keep trying out and posting comments on the threaded comments thread, folks, as we cover other topics. It helps to have everything in one place -Adam

By Adam Bink

I won’t repeat it too in-depth, but we often say our mantra at Courage Campaign and our movement is story-telling to change hearts and minds… or at the very least, start a conversation.

Here is the incredibly moving story of an AIDS/LifeCycle rider currently cycling from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money to fight, and awareness of, HIV/AIDS. He stopped and told his mother he is HIV+ during the tour on the phone. Watch:

It must take a lot of courage. He may have just turned his mom into an advocate by telling his story… or at the least, moved her in the right direction. Sometimes storytelling is often about being gay, but it is sometimes about being positive, too (and many other issues).

As we encourage folks to tell their stories as part of the Dustin Lance Black challenge, today Servicemembers Legal Defense Network asked its supporters to record a video for the challenge about serving in the military:

SLDN is pleased to collaborate with the Courage Campaign on its “Testimony” website, providing an SLDN “Community Page” as a place for veterans and families to share their stories about how “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal has affected their lives. Check out the newly uploaded story of Navy veteran Alicia Barnes on our page, as she talks about serving in the closet.

Recently, the Courage Campaign launched a video challenge featuring Dustin Lance Black, screenwriter of the 2008 Oscar-nominated drama “Milk.” In this video, Dustin encourages viewers to record and post their own testimony on the website, to tell stories about why they support LGBT equality. If Dustin selects yours as one of his favorite videos, he will bring his production crew to your hometown to film a public service announcement!

SLDN joins Dustin’s call, as we encourage you to post your video about DADT on SLDN’s Community Page. From young veterans to long-time military spouses, countless lives have been affected by DADT and the prior regulatory ban on military service by LGB people. This is your chance to speak up and speak out, to talk candidly about how this law and imminent repeal impact you and your family and friends.

To enter the contest, just record and upload a 1-2-minute video telling your story in support of LGBT equality no later than 11:59 p.m. on June 15th, 2011. Click here for details about how to upload your video. Please add your video both to both Dustin’s and SLDN’s Community Pages (select multiple pages when uploading, using the Ctrl key).

Thanks for stepping out for LGBT equality and sharing your story about DADT. Good luck on the contest – let’s get uploading!

Thanks SLDN for encouraging story-telling for members of the military LGBT (and allied) community, and for those of you in other communities, please do tell your story. You can get started here!


29 Comments June 9, 2011

Unicorn Booty co-founders submit Testimony about Prop 8 aftermath

By Adam Bink

For those of you who haven’t checked out the blog (whose name makes me giggle every time I say it), they have some fun, diverse content, including a good deal on travel and civil rights.

They caught my eye after publishing a very thoughtful letter to Orbitz asking about how they can reconcile their support for equality with their funding for Fox News, and then an interview with Media Matters responding to Orbitz’s letter in reply (more on that story tomorrow). Anyway, today, their two co-founders entered our Testimony challenge with filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, discussing how Prop 8 was a “moment” of awakening for them:

Many others, including some of you here, have stories about their lives changing after Prop 8. I remember it being bittersweet on Election Day, as Obama won and too many others had their civil rights taken away.

You can enter the Testimony video challenge by starting here. Your video need not be any more well done than theirs — the quality of your story is more important than the quality of the video. We’ll take three of the most compelling stories and put Dustin Lance Black and his crew on a plane to film you wherever you are, then take the production and put it on TV to move more hearts and minds.

9 Comments June 6, 2011

Dustin Lance Black Announces Testimony Video Contest

By Adam Bink

If you can’t see the video, click here

This morning, Dustin Lance Black sent an e-mail to our members announcing the Testimony video contest. It’s a partnership we are doing in an effort to find the next great stories that shape public opinion about LGBT equality — submitted by you or your friends, family and colleagues. Many of them can be found here at P8TT. Testimony is the name for our new project we have been rolling out: a one-stop shop hub for stories of struggle to achieve LGBT equality.

You can sign up here. Dustin Lance Black and his camera crew will be reviewing submissions and pick three incredible stories to record for television. He will then hop on a plane to fly to wherever you live and record your submission for TV, so Americans can learn why its important for our community to be equal. It will be a tough choice, and I want to emphasize that it’s not a competition about whose story is “better”, but which one we can put on TV to move hearts and minds. If we have success with the project, we may be able to record more and fund them.

Think of what it could achieve — Zach Wahls’ story, or Dan Choi’s, or Ed and Derence’s, targeted to advertise in places like Minnesota, where we need to change minds on marriage in advance of the 2012 ballot initiative. Or New York State, where we have a few Senators whose constituents are on the fence about marriage equality. From marriage to adoption, bullying to being transgender, there is no shortage of stories, and no shortage of minds we need to change. That’s where this project comes in.

You can sign up and get more details here. Or, do you know someone — a kid who’s been bullied at school, a couple who faced medical problems at the hospital because of DOMA, a transgender women fired at the workplace? Let them know. Submissions are due by 11:59 PM PST on June 15th. Flip open those camcorders, handheld cams and computer cameras and take a minute to record your Testimony. Let’s change some minds.

Courage Campaign

Dear Adam,

From Pedro Zamora to Harvey Milk and soon J. Edgar Hoover, so much of my work tells the stories of LGBTQ people because I believe sharing our stories is the most effective way to dispel the myths, lies and stereotypes that have been used to deny us our rights for generations. By sharing our stories, I believe we can win full equality nationwide.
That’s why today, I’m helping launch a new film project with Courage Campaign, called Testimony: Take a Stand. And this time, I’m turning the cameras on you in a national search to find the next great American LGBTQ stories.
Please click below to watch:
I’m asking for your stories now because I know DOMA repeal is possible in the U.S. Senate, and it is clear the Federal case for equal marriage is soon destined for the U.S. Supreme Court. But these Justices and U.S. Senators don’t live in a vacuum. They watch the news, read their papers and pay attention to the daily narrative unfolding across this country. Our stories must be a part of that narrative. That’s why Courage Campaign needs you — on camera.
Over the next months, we will post and share all of your videos. And at the end of this search, my film crew will choose three, fly to your home town to film your story and share it with the country in a television ad campaign.
I grew up in a conservative Mormon, military household in Texas, came out of the closet, and told my story. I know first hand how difficult it can be, but I can attest to the change it’s created in my family and the changes it’s helped start even within the Mormon Church.
Our stories are powerful. Our stories change minds. Whether you are LGBTQ or a straight ally… please tell yours.
Thank you for your testimony,
Dustin Lance Black
P. S. On Sunday, we celebrated Harvey Milk’s birthday. Will you help keep his spirit alive by giving your Testimony today?

6 Comments May 23, 2011

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