At the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club‘s annual dinner, on Wednesday, July 24th, 2013, Daniel Ellsberg accepted the “In His Footsteps” award on behalf of Bradley Manning. (The footsteps are Harvey Milk’s.) He pleasantly surprised the audience by including an provocative call to redefine masculinity (that starts about 6:23 in).
My name is Martin MacKerel and I am a straight ally. [some remarks about the anger in the room and remembering the pastor’s words about respecting each others’ humanity]
When I say I’m an ally, I don’t just mean that I think gay rights are cool and I have some friends who are LGBT. I have played for several years in a pool league that “just happens to be gay” and met many people and that’s when these issues became important to me. I campaigned against Prop 8, and after it passed I joined a local grassroots group called “One Struggle One Fight” to fight against it, and as part of that I went to DC for the 2009 National Equality March.
I’m also a Bradley Manning supporter since I learned about his situation two and a half years ago. You may ask why? Is there a link? And, yes, there is a simple link in that these are both about justice.
But I think there is a deeper link. Both the process of coming out and Bradley’s actions involve speaking truths that might make people uncomfortable. Many people might initially not want to know that a family member or friend is queer. But hopefully in coming out, attitudes are shifted, and both the speaker and the listener are transformed.
I know that lots of people would prefer to believe that the government is on their side, that its military doesn’t commit war crimes, and that its foreign policy comes from good intentions.
Bradley showed us, as Daniel Ellsberg did, that these comforting notions are not true. I see the reaction to Bradley Manning’s selection as Grand Marshal as part of a prolonged attempt not to face the truth. But sooner or later, and the sooner the better, we must face the truth.
To deny Bradley – to shove him and his uncomfortable truths back in the closet – is to fail in our responsibility as a community.
Bradley Manning’s statement taking responsibility for giving documents to Wikileaks is a remarkable document. In it, he says several important things.
On December 17th, 2011, Occupy SF and friends had a demonstration in support of the three-month anniversary of Occupy and the 24th birthday of Bradley Manning. It was also the second day of Bradley’s long-delayed trial.
We marched from Bradley Manning Plaza (formerly Justin Herman Plaza) down Market, held a brief rally at the intersection of Montgomery and Post, and then marched in the street against traffic and between cars up Montgomery, circling back around to Sue Bierman Park just a block from Bradley Manning Plaza.
When we arrived, a couple people set up tents, there were some speakers, and then, cake!
This email was sent out to the Wikileaks Support Announcement list.
As I’ve said before, I believe that the most important task related to defending Wikileaks is to defend Bradley Manning. His pre-trial hearing (after more than 500 days in jail) will be announced any day now. We would love to have a large and immediate response to send a message to the powers-that-be.
We were able to improve Bradley’s conditions in jail through our activism. A large turnout will help Bradley get a public, instead of a closed, trial, which in turn tremendously improves his chances of going free or getting a shorter sentence.