Congressman John Lewis delivered an incredibly inspirational keynote address to the weekend Equality Alabama Gala in Birmingham. The hero of the civil rights movement, who has now become a champion for gay rights and marriage equality, reminded the audience of his words at the 1963 March on Washington: "To those who have said, 'Be patient and wait,' we must say that we cannot be patient. We do not want our freedom gradually but we want to be free now."
Lewis is one of four lead co-sponsors of the legislation introduced last week to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
Pam Spaulding traveled to Birmingham to be part of the event and posted video of the speech and an excellent write-up. "I asked Rep. Lewis what, as an LGBT person of color can do to encourage more of 'us' to come out, to address the issues of faith and reconciliation with one's sexual orientation when there is both hostility toward faith in many slices of the out gay community and denial of the impact of the closet in the black community."
"He said that as he travels to conferences he sees more and more out black and gay representation, steady, but still very slowly. He said that the walls are slowly breaking down among pastors who are seeing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" social policy within the community can not hold sway forever. As more than one person mentioned to me today, the same DADT about homosexuality exists not just in the religious black community, but in the Deep South at large."
Lewis boasts a 100 rating from the Human Rights Campaign and has been called a "lion and a legend" by HRC President Joe Solmonese.