Kara Speltz Speech on Behalf of Soulforce at the November 15, 2008 Protest of Proposition 8 in Oakland, California

These last ten days have been such an emotional roller coaster. Tears of joy! Tears of grief. But ultimately, what we need to remember is that at long last, the polictics of fear lost. We are entering a new era, a time of HOPE.

When my 42 year old interracial son was born, it was illegal for blacks and whites to marry. When he was 2, the NY Times ran a survey. 72% of the readership was opposed to interracial marriage. Today we have an Afro-American president elect. Who would have believed that?

For too long we, transgender, lesbian, bisexual and gay people have sat back on our laurels, so to speak, especially in the Bay Area. We’ve taken our rights for granted. But today, is a new beginning; another Stonewall. We’re fighting back, but this time our weapon must be LOVE. Gandhi and King showed us the way. The Mormons aren’t our enemy, ignorance is our enemy. It’s not by being in their faces, that we’ll win this struggle, its by being in their HEARTS.

The Yes on Prop 8 campaign used the tactic of fear in their support of Prop 8. Only love can overcome fear. The failure to communicate is on our part. Every time, we weren’t out to family, to friends, to co-workers we cast a vote for shame, a vote to end our Right to Marry.

We’ll fight this in the courts and in the media. But we can’t leave it for someone else to do. This has to be a tranformational moment for each of us. a personal commitment to overcoming our own fears, overcoming the shame and the ignorance with our love and our persistance. As Gandhi said, we must become the change we seek.

Share with your neighbors, your coworkers and your family exactly how devastating this loss of the right to marry has been for you. Help them understand, change hearts one at a time.

Nonviolence isn’t for wimps. It’s hard work and it takes courage. I ask each and every one of you to face that challenge. Choose love over anger, choose love over hate, choose love over devisivness. I ask you to make that commitment this morning, and every morning. We can & will win.

Kara Speltz is Executive Assistant for Soulforce