The Stonewall Stop and Frisk Summit - Or, Al Sharpton, Chris Quinn and the NAACP Walk Into a (Gay) Bar...
Steven Thrasher Front row L to R: Speaker Quinn, Stuart Appelbaum/RWDSU, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum/CBST, Sharon Stapel/AVP at podium; Ben Jealous/NAACP, Rev. Al Sharpton/NAN, Marty Rouse/HRC, George Gresham/SEIU
An historic coalition of traditional race-oriented civil rights organizations, labor unions, and LGBT groups met yesterday at the Stonewall Inn to endorse the upcoming SIlent March to End Stop and Frisk on Father's Day, June 17. The "press conference" featured an impressive roster of speakers -- including the Rev. Al Sharpton, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and NAACP President Benajmin Jealous -- and had anyone wanted to wipe out nearly every LGBT leader in the city, they could have done it with one strike.
But as historic as it was to see "Gay Inc" standing alongside black civil rights groups at the location where the Stonewall Riots kicked off the gay rights revolution four decades ago, there was one inconvenient truth which the event did not acknowledge. In fact, when the Voice even asked about this -- that the assembled were joined to fight a policy which belongs primarily to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is a very close ally of several of the speakers, particularly Speaker Quinn, and also the Human Rights Campaign, who honored Mayor Bloomberg last year -- it brought the "press conference" to a hasty end. (Like most events we cover, it was expected by organizers that the speakers would talk at us and we journalists would transcribe whatever they said and repeat it without question.)
Still, it was one of the most unusual events we've covered, and a hearteningly significant one at that.More »