Today in Earth Day, which marks the anniversary of what many consider to be the birth of the modern environmental movement. The first Earth Day was in 1970, and was the brianchild of Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) in response to the massive 1969 oil spill off of Santa Barbara California. Back in the day when bipartisan and left-right cooperation was still considered a civil virtue, Nelson was joined by conservative Congressman Pete McCloskey (R-CA) to inaugurate the first Earth Day, which ultimately led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Richard Nixon and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and the Endagnered Species Act. Just try to imagine that kind of cooperation on anything today.
TODAY’S AGENDA (Ours):
Rally Against Amendment 1: Durham, NC. People of Faith to Protect ALL Families will hold a rally against Amendment 1, the North Carolina proposal to ban not just same-sex marriage (which is already illegal in the Tar Heel State), but all state and local recognitions of gay or straight relationships outside of marriage. The rally will feature Jay Bakker, the son of Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, and begins at 1:00 p.m. a the Trotter Building (410 W. Geer St.). Other speakers include Quaker peace activist David LaMotte, Pilgrim United Church of Christ pastor Rev. Ginger Brasher-Cunningham, evangelical author Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, charismatic Christian leader Jimmy Chalmers and Baptist minister Brian Ammons. Directly following the rally, attendees will march to the polls to take advantage of Sunday voting during the early voting period. The afternoon concludes with a party at Durham’s Fullsteam Brewery (422 Rigsbee Ave.), beginning around 3 p.m.
Fairness Campaign Protest Against Neo-Nazis: Frankfort, KY. The Fairness Campaign has joined other social justice groups planning to oppose a rally organized by the Neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) at the Kentucky State Capitol this Saturday, April 21 at 3:00 p.m. Among the NSM’s myriad positions of prejudice, they believe, “Only those of pure white blood…may be members of the state…Accordingly, no Jew or homosexual may be a member…”
Protesting organizations include the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), W.E.N.C.H., and others. In Louisville, carpools to Frankfort will meet at 1:00 p.m. at the Fairness Campaign (2263 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville) and Carl Braden Memorial Center (3208 West Broadway). Opposition groups will convene at 2:30 p.m. in front of the Capitol Annex (702 Capital Avenue, Frankfort).
Soulforce Equality Ride to Attend Weekly Broadcast of Mormon Tabernacle Choir: Salt Lake City, UT. The Soulforce Equality Ride, which is in Salt Lake City for the next few days, will attend the weekly broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir this morning at 9:00 a.m. Then at 11:00 a.m. the group will go to Sacred Light of Christ Church (823 S 600 E) for morning services. Later that evening the Equality Riders will return to Sacred Light for a potluck dinner at 6:00 p.m. followed by ” Stories from the Road – A Fireside by the 2012 Soulforce Equality Ride,” beginning at 7:00 p.m, where Soulforce riders will share their experiences across the country.
Other Events This Weekend: Sunshine Stampede Rodeo, Davie, FL .
TODAY’S AGENDA (Theirs):
Family “Research” Council’s Values Voter Bus Tour: San Diego, CA. The Family “Research” Council, an SPLC-certified anti-gay hate group, will take its joint bus tour with the Heritage Foundation to San Diego for an all day event at Skyline Wesleyan Church (11330 Campo Road in La Mesa) to talk about their so-called “Saving the American Dream” plan. They will also be doing voter registration and signing up volunteers. Celebrities on hand will be televangelist James Robison, too-looney-even-for Fox commentator Glenn Beck, and “creationist” proponent Jay Richards.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
“Conquering AIDS” Op-Ed in the New York Times: 1983. The epidemic was coming on its two year anniversary, and as of April 13, 1983, 1,339 people had been diagnosed with AIDS, with 505 known deaths recorded. Nearly half of them were in New York City. Dr. Kevin M. Cahill, director of the tropical disease center at Lenox Hill Hospital, became alarmed at the lack of action, both on the part of federal officials as well as New York’s City Hall under Mayor Ed Koch. Cahill attributed that lack of urgency to “politicians (who) handled the epidemic with unaccustomed wariness. Almost without exception, public leaders evaded the epidemic issue, avoiding even the usual expressions of compassion and concern. The victims’ sexual orientation apparently made involvement risky,and the politicians directed their courage and energies elsewhere.” Cahill wondered why the medical community was “stragely absent” as the disaster escalated:
When a fatal infection struck down veterans attending an American Legion convention, health professionals across America joined in the search for a solution. When women using tampons became ill with toxic-shock syndrome, medical centers immediately focused their enormous talents on that problem. But when the victims were drug addicts and poor Haitian refugees and homosexual men, no major research programs were announced. Until it became clear that the disease could spread to the general population through blood transfusions, organized medicine seemed part of a conspiracy of silence.
Cahill applauded the “many instances of individual courage” by physicians, nurses and technicians who took up the fight with “a quiet dignity and decency that deserves special respect.”
If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).
And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?