Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Joint Statement about Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the DREAM Act

VOICE, LYFE and Out Boulder – A Joint Statement about Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the DREAM Act – LGBT and Immigrant Communities Continue to Stand Together
Many people in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) and Allied community have worked tirelessly to help repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” On Saturday, the U.S. Senate approved a stand-alone bill to repeal the military’s 17-year-old ban on lesbians, gays and bisexuals serving openly in the military. The vote was 65-31.
DADT is an important and hard-earned victory and provides us reason to celebrate; however, on the same day the U.S. Senate’s failed cloture vote blocked consideration of the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act). The DREAM Act, which passed the U.S. House last week, seeks to provide undocumented young people “conditional permanent residency” if they arrived in this country before they were 16 and attend college or serve in the military. Upon graduation or completion of their enlistment, they would receive permanent legal residency with an opportunity to apply for U.S. citizenship.
We are grateful for the leadership of Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and and Mark Udall who voted for the DREAM Act and the repeal of DADT.
We also thank Rep. Jared Polis, who represents Colorado’s Second District (which includes Boulder County) for his unwavering and strong leadership in support of both the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and passage of the DREAM Act. Polis co-sponsored the DREAM Act and said in his remarks, “The DREAM Act is not only a human rights issue, it's an economic issue and it's a competitiveness issue. These young people are some of our very best Americans…I call upon the House and the Senate to immediately move to pass the DREAM Act and help make these young people proper Americans.” In his remarks about DADT, Polis said, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is the only law in the country that requires people to be dishonest or be fired if they choose to be honest.”
VOICE (Voices of Immigrant Children for Education and Equality), LYFE (Longmont Youth for Equality) and Out Boulder (Boulder County’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community center) ask LGBT people to speak out in favor of immigrant rights. We ask immigrants to speak out on behalf of LGBT rights. We ask you to continue to see the connections between the treatment of LGBTs and immigrants in federal, state, and local policies. For over 17 years the LGBT community and our allies have fought for the repeal of DADT. This change provides hope to the immigrant justice community that progress does happen and that we will see comprehensive immigration reform soon.
We ask you to recognize that some people are both immigrant and LGBT and that community-building must focus on all facets of the community. In the spirit of solidarity and social justice, it is important to acknowledge that DADT only applies to service members who are gay, lesbian or bisexual—not to transgender service members. We continue to stand with the transgender community, as well.
In a letter from the Birmingham Jail in 1962, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr wrote,
“We are bound by an inescapable garment of mutuality, whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
The results of December 18, 2010 further the need to acknowledge that our issues cannot be faced in isolation. It remains true that those who hate us come from similar and often intertwined ideological foundations. We will celebrate Don't Ask and Don't Tell being repealed while also considering what we can do next to work with the Dreamers. Our opponents may try to use ‘divide and conquer’ tactics to carry out their agenda, but we will not be divided. Now more than ever, we must stand together in solidarity - an injustice to one is an injustice to all.

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