Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Another Report From The National Equality March

On Sunday October 11th 2009, Josh Blackwood, chair of the stakeholders council for Integrity USA attended events leading up to and participating in the National Equality March and Rally held in Washington D.C. Mr Blackwood first attended the Official Interfaith Service held at Plymouth Congregation UCC Church in Washington before going on to organize some local Episcopalians for the march itself. The group organized and after a prayer and blessing from a priest joining from Integrity Chicago, the group joined the other thousands of people to march through the streets fighting for full equality.

Mr Blackwood could not join the march as he was due over at the rally site for check-in. Mr Blackwood participated along with Neil Houghton, VP for Local Affairs for Integrity USA as part of the 30+ group of Clergy and Religious leaders who joined the Rev Troy Perry, founder of MCC and Rev Nancy Wilson, MCC's current moderator to deliver the invocation at the start of the rally.

While in attendance at the stage area, Mr Blackwood and Mr Houghton both had the opportunity to meet and briefly talk to Judy Shephard, whose son Matthew was the victim of a hate crime that took his life. "I heard a rumor that you are an Episcopalian" Blackwood said to Mrs Shephard, who replied "yes, and so was Matt. My parents allowed us to choose and I did so at 15 and we did the same for our kids and Matt also made that choice.

During the course of the day, Mr Blackwood also met with several other people of note including Dustin Lance Black, Martina Navratilova, Fr Geoff Farrow, Lt Dan Choi, Cynthia Nixon, Kate Clinton and many others.

The highlight came when Mr Blackwood had the to meet Urvashi Vaid, the Executive Director of the Arcus Foundation. On behalf of Integrity, Mr Blackwood thanked Ms Vaid and Arcus for their continued support of Integrity and its work to which Ms Vaid responded, "we are glad to support Integrity and its work in the Episcopal Church.

For photos you can go to http://www.edowpride.com/EDOW_Pride/My_Albums/Pages/National_Equality_March.html

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