Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lt. Dan Choi, Freedom Fighter

On Thursday, West Point graduate, Iraq War veteran and New York National Guardsman Lieutenant Dan Choi (above, photo from powerfully concluded a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) rally, featuring comedienne Kathy Griffin, to repeal the abhorrent and failed Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy with direct action: he and Captain Joe Pietrangelo II, who unsuccessfully tried to take his discharge as a result of DADT to the Supreme Court, chained themselves to the White House's gates. According to Qweerty's report, GetEQUAL co-founder Robin McGehee was arrested for helping Choi lock himself to the gates. HRC head Joe Solomonese and Griffin allegedly agreed to accompany Choi to the White House, but neither did. Griffin also supposedly had cameras on the HRC rally premises, for her show, but it's unclear if they captured Choi's protest.

From YouTube user goodboydc (John Aravosis), video of Lt. Dan Choi handcuffing himself to the gates:

From Lt. Choi's press release:

“Hello. My name is Lt. Dan Choi. I am being discharged from the US Army because I am gay and dared to say it out loud.

Today, I am here on a mission with Capt. Jim Pietrangelo, and we are asking you all to join us. We’re calling you to action because we are at a turning point — a moment in time where talk is no longer enough, and action is required.

Equality is not going to happen by itself.

You have been told that the President has a plan. But Congressman Barney Frank confirmed to us this week that the President still is not fully committed to repealing Don’t
Ask, Don’t Tell this year.
And if we don’t seize this moment it may not happen for a very long time.

Some may tell you that I am one of the lucky ones. I have been welcomed back by my unit with open arms. And it would be easy for me to stay quiet and hope that change will happen.

But what I was taught at West Point and learned in war is — hope is not a strategy. As officers, James and I both find it a dereliction of our moral duty to remain silent while thousands of our brothers and sister are not allowed to serve openly and honestly.

Capt. Pietrangelo was honorably discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2004 and I will be subject to the same shortly. As officers we are here today fighting for those in the ranks, and we need our Commander in Chief to do the same.

Our fight is not here at Freedom Plaza, it is at the White House. We are walking to the White House right now to send the President a message. So…take out your cell phones and your cameras.

Document this moment. Join us as together — we make history.”

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