April 13, 2015
Contact: Bradley Jacobs
Family Equality Council
LEADING NATIONAL YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS UNITE TO LAUNCH #OURTURNNOW, A SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN TO SUPPORT MARRIAGE EQUALITY
SUPPORTED BY LEADING LGBTQ ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS, COLAGE, ONE MILLION KIDS, THE OUTSPOKEN GENERATION, GAY-STRAIGHT ALLIANCE NETWORK AND THE RAINBOW LETTERS PARTNER ON A NATIONAL YOUTH-LED EFFORT
WASHINGTON – April 13, 2015 – Ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court marriage equality hearings, youth leaders from several national organizations including COLAGE, One Million Kids, the Outspoken Generation, Gay-Straight Alliance Network and The Rainbow Letters have launched #OurTurnNow, a social media effort to raise youth voices in support of nationwide marriage equality. The youth leaders are calling on their generation to unite their voices in the simplest way – by posting messages and images of support on social media using the hashtag #OurTurnNow. The collection of messages will be displayed on the campaign website www.ourturnnow.org.
The social media campaign evolved from a Valentine’s Day idea thought up by 12-year-old Abigail Hasting-Tharp and a group of her friends in Oregon. The group wanted to send the U.S. Supreme Court Justices Valentine’s Day cards as a gesture to urge them to support love. “Anyone, anywhere, should be allowed to declare their love for anyone and feel safe to do so regardless of gender,” said Abigail.
Unsure of how quickly they could rally enough support for the Valentine’s Day delivery, Abigail and her friends decided to unite with other youth groups for an even larger presence online. “Laws should be no barrier to love. This is why we hope those with the power to make change – justices, politicians and everyday people – will support marriage for everyone, including those who are the same gender.”
According to the Movement Advancement Project, same-sex couples can marry in 35 states and Washington, D.C. There are also three states where appellate or federal court rulings have been stayed or contravened and marriage licenses are currently unavailable to same-sex couples statewide.
“Everyone deserves a happily ever after,” said Abigail. The #OurTurnNow campaign aims to use social media to unite youth allies and inform the adults of the country that “we think differently. Love should be celebrated, not shunned.”
To show support using their social media networks, youth are asked to creatively express their views on marriage equality using #OurTurnNow. The campaign encourages youth to get involved ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing through sharing messages of love and support, selfies, or photos of their same-sex-headed families. On April 28th, the campaign will come together in a social media storm where youth can stand in solidarity with those on the ground rallying for marriage equality throughout the United States.
“This project was inspired by youth advocates, and our roles as partners has been to empower young people to share their voices; voices that have been a powerful agent of change in the struggle for our families’ equality,” said Annie Van Avery, Executive Director of COLAGE. The campaign is operating with the advising support from several leading LGBTQ advocacy organizations, including Marriage Equality USA, Family Equality Council, GLAAD, GLSEN, The Personal Stories Project and Our Family Coalition.
About the Outspoken Generation: The Outspoken Generation – a program led by the Family Equality Council – strives to empower those with parent(s) who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) to speak out about our community’s families. To learn more, visit: www.familyequality.org /get_involved/outspoken.
About COLAGE: COLAGE unites people with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer parents into a network of peers and supports them as they nurture and empower each other to be skilled, self-confident, and just leaders in our collective communities. To learn more, visit: www.COLAGE.org.
About One Million Kids: Our mission is to engage, educate, and empower lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth and the children of LGBT parents with a voice around equality. To learn more, visit: www.onemillionkids.org.
About Gay-Straight Alliance Network: Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network) is a next-generation LGBTQ racial and gender justice organization that empowers and trains queer, trans and allied youth leaders to advocate, organize, and mobilize an intersectional movement for safer schools and healthier communities. To learn more, visit: www.gsanetwork.org.
About The Rainbow Letters: The Rainbow Letters project is collecting letters written by people with LGBTQ parent(s) to share the stories of an invisible community. Our agenda is self-expression, and our vision is to build community and introduce authentic portraits that defy convention to illustrate that differences truly are okay, and that there’s no such thing as “normal” when it comes to family. To learn more, visit: www.therainbowletters.com.
About Family Equality Council: Family Equality Council connects, supports, and represents the three million parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer in this country today and their six million children of all ages. We are changing attitudes and policies to ensure that all families are respected, loved, and celebrated—including families with parents who are LGBTQ. We are a community of parents, children, grandparents, and grandchildren that reaches across this country. For over 30 years we have raised our children and raised our voices toward fairness for all families.
About Marriage Equality USA: Founded in 1996, Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) is the nation’s oldest organization dedicated to building equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community through civil marriage equality in every state and at the federal level. With over 40,000 members as well as volunteer leaders and partner organizations in all 50 states, it is the largest volunteer-driven, grassroots organization of its kind engaged in education, training, organizing, action, and coalition building to win equal marriage rights and protections for LGBTQ couples and their families. MEUSA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. To learn more, visit: www.marriageequality.org.
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBT acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org.
About GLSEN: GLSEN is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for all students. Celebrating its 25th year, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN’s research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.
About The Personal Stories Project: Personal stories are the most powerful tool we have to erase fear, give hope, and unite people. Founded in 2013, The Personal Stories Project is a social media based organization that promotes activism, advocacy and support for the LGBT community and our allies through the sharing of personal stories. To learn more visit www.personalstoriesproject.org.
About Our Family Coalition: Our Family Coalition is the premier LGBTQ family organization in California; serving more than 3,500 LGBTQ parents, caregivers, and family members annually and reaching over 10,000 LGBTQ educators, service providers, advocates and allies through direct support, education, and advocacy initiatives. Their Spring 2015 Youth Unity Project (YUP), a new collaboration with COLAGE and The Rainbow Letters, will coach youth ages 11-24 to tell their family stories through writing, art, and performance.