2:28 PM

Turning the Tide towards Justice!

Posted by Prosy Delacruz

John Salud Mina and John Davis, one of my favorite gay couples!
“History is a chronicle of human struggles to build a better world for all; but even as humanity moves in that direction, it will have many deviations. A setback may feel devastating when it happens, but it is only a small deviation in the larger movement. There will always be a few who will keep nudging humanity to move toward that vision. That is the role of social justice advocates in every generation. History in the long run is progressive." - Daniel Boone Schirmer, Ph.D.

I decided to share my Rhizomes space in Asian Journal with community voices and allow a plurality of their voices to look at Judge Vaughn Walker's decision. I invited gay and straight friends to make comments which are now reposted in my blog, ProvencalinLA.

John C.Davis and John S. Mina are two generous folks I know. They attend many events, eager to help causes, from the Filipino-American Library to 5K walks for the Homeless, Historic Filipinotown to those supported by Hollywood. They said, “Judge Walker got it right. This isn't an issue of gay marriage versus heterosexual marriage. This is an issue of rights...Equal rights and HUMAN rights. Our love is just as valid as the love a man can have for his wife. Hate is the root of all evil. God does not look kindly on people who hate. If the marriage of same sex couples threatens the state of your "traditional marriage"... maybe the problem is with your marriage not ours.”

Keith Kamisugi works for civil rights causes, but also donates his time to significant campaigns, like Pres. Barack Obama’s. He serves on the boards of Chinatown CDC, Asian Law Caucus, CAA, Japantown Foundation and Nichi Bei Foundation. He said , “The American experiment with democracy, even after more than two centuries, shows that it often takes some time for the law to catch up with society. Judge Walker's ruling against Prop. 8 is in part a victory resting on the incredible efforts of many organizations and millions of people in this country that fight every day on the long road towards equality and opportunity. And the fight is not yet over. " Keith Kamisugi, director of communications at the Equal Justice Society, a SF-based racial justice strategy group.

Kevin Hamano is a recent UC Berkeley graduate. He helped some tech-challenged senior citizens on the use of Facebook, Flickr and computers, and now works fulltime in this tech area. He said, “When I heard about the overturning of Proposition 8, I became very excited. I didn't become excited simply because I knew so many of my friends would be able to marry, but instead because it provided evidence that my friends are just as much people as anyone else. In all, the ruling on Prop 8 is a great moment in California's history and the fight for equality. It is just one step, but a step in the right direction, nonetheless.“

Giselle Tongi-Walters is a student at UCLA, a popular movie star in the Philippines, married with two children, and is now directing her first short film. She volunteers her time to reproductive health issues for Likhaan. She too, is elated at the ruling. “I am overjoyed that Prop 8 has been overturned. Now the true essence of equality can be enjoyed by all of humanity," she said.

Giselle Tongi-Walters and her daughter!

Brian Imagineering Loo, an industrial engineer that works at a dream jobsite, Disneyland, has this to offer: “Hearing about the overturning of Proposition 8 put me out of words. I was very surprised to see that on the Federal level, that it would be seen as unconstitutional. I am very excited, nervous, and anxious to see what the next court will have to say on the issue. I never would imagine that all of this would happen during my lifetime.”

Jury Candelario, Community Activist/API Equality-LA, Director/Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team - Los Angeles, had this to say: "This is a great victory for human rights, not just civil rights. My husband and I were among the fortunate 18,000 couples who got married in 2008 before Prop 8 loomed its ugly head. We are thrilled with Judge Walker's ruling but this is far from over. We must stay vigilant and continue educating our community about the freedom to marry."

Alice Hom is the current California Partnerships Program Manager for the National Gender and Equity Campaign, a demonstration project for Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy. From 2001-2006, she served as the Founding Director of the Intercultural Community Center at Occidental College where she worked on diversity and social justice issues. She served on the board of Visual Communications, an Asian American media arts organization. Alice is completing a Ph.D. History Program at Claremont Graduate University. She offered us these comments: “I felt a bit of emotional and relief that the ruling went our way. I didn't want my hopes up high only to be disappointed so I tried to keep a balanced view. I didn't think I would get emotional about it because I recognize and know that marriage equality is not the 'end all and be all' for progressive folks working for social justice. I did feel this strong sense of solidarity that this ruling is not for "just us" as queer folk, it's about justice. And that's what I heard from the speakers at the Olvera Street vigil/rally in downtown LA that was organized by Latino Equality Alliance, API Equality-LA, Jordan/Rustin Coalition and others. I went to Olvera Street to support and to show that LGBTQ people of color and particularly LGBTQ AAPIs are a part of this movement and we have other issues that are important to us as well.”

From the husband/wife team of Ruben and Janet Nepales, who are the first Filipino members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the convening organization for the Golden Globes) and who recently spoke about their association’s philanthropy in donating over $ 1,500,000 grants to film-related projects with People Magazine: “Marriage is about the love and commitment between two people. I am happy that California is finally recognizing that,” said Janet. “When the state passed Proposition 8, it wasn't a proud a day for me to be a resident of California. Last August 4, 2010, when Proposition 8 was overturned, I was glad that justice was served and that the principle of equal rights for all was upheld,” according to Ruben.

In our circle, a good friend, C, had this to say: "Marriage is between a man and a woman. Gays can have their relationships and they can have their union, but not under the institution of marriage. They can have their domestic partnerships. We are not saying they cannot have their relationships as gays. If we allow gays to be married, who is to stop those in polygamy to be married? "

Let us hope this window is kept permanently open. I will summarize Judge Walker’s judgment and how it was arrived at -- key findings of law, the findings of fact, the credibility determinations of the witnesses presented, all in a 138-page long ruling in my next piece.


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