March 24, 2005
Monitors Sought for May 1 Equality ForumForty years ago, just across the street from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, 40 brave and pioneering men and women held the nation's first demonstration for gay and lesbian rights. To commemorate this beginning, Equality Forum will host a National Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Civil Rights Movement on Independence Mall on Sunday, May 1, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The day's events will include performances by Cindy Lauper and Kate Clinton. Equality Forum and those attending will salute the Gay Pioneers who marched in 1965, and will honor 40 heroes who have made a defining contribution to GLBT civil rights during the 40 years since.
Some anti-GLBT groups have announced their intention to stage protests at the National Celebration. In order to ensure that the free speech rights of everyone in attendance at the National Celebration are protected, Equality Forum welcomes volunteers to serve as monitors of the Independence Mall site and of any protests. Similar to attorney monitors serving at polling stations, monitors will serve as observers of activity, and will notify police and National Parks Service officers as appropriate to avoid public disturbance or the risk of confrontation. In advance of the National Celebration, Equality Forum will hold an orientation meeting for volunteers. Equality Forum encourages both straight and gay members of the Philadelphia Bar Association to serve two-hour shifts as monitors.
Persons interested in volunteering to serve as monitors should contact Kevin Ray at (215) 979-1567. For more information about the National Celebration or Equality Forum, visit www.equalityforum.org.