The Courage Campaign, a progressive organization based in California with over 700,000 members, has partnered with the Tennessee Equality Project for a new video project featuring Academy Award-winning filmmaker Dustin Lance Black (Milk).
The Courage Campaign is seeking people to record their own 1-2 minute video testimonies. These videos will be shared with Black, who will then pick three of the best stories and fly out to wherever the person lives to film their story for a TV ad.
Rick Jacobs, chair and founder of the Courage Campaign, is a native of Oak Ridge, Tenn. He's penned a letter expressing his desire to see Tennesseans speak out.
Full text below:
I was born and raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, right near Knoxville, the home town of Tennessee governor Bill Haslam. I have always loved my home place and had intended to live my life there, but I knew I was gay. At the time, East Tennessee was not a place to be out, so I moved to California. I still have lots of friends back home. My parents just moved from there three years ago. I love Tennessee, so imagine my disappointment and anger when Gov. Haslam signed the recent bill outlawing protections for LGBT people…and may sign legislation banning the word “gay.”
To fight back, I recorded my video Testimony, and I want to share it with you. Marriage may now be legal in New York State, but in Tennessee, it may be soon be illegal for teachers to say "gay" in schools. We have to change that.
Tennesseans love good stories and those stories really do change minds. That's why, together with our good friends at the Tennessee Equality Project, we hope you'll record your own 1-2 minute Testimony, which we'll share with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Dustin Lance Black (who wrote Milk and many other incredible films). He’s going to take three of the best stories and literally fly out to wherever the person lives to film the story for TV. Imagine if he selects yours to air in Tennessee to show Gov. Haslam and the legislature that hurting gay people hurts the state.
Will you bear your Testimony to start fighting back against this anti-gay message?
Think about it: your story could be shown in front of hundreds of thousands of people -- people who aren’t sure about their son or daughter being gay, or who don’t understand why schools need LGBT-inclusive bullying policies. It could be shown in front of people who aren't sure about why equality in the workplace matters, who haven’t considered the importance of repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), or other important issues that come down to basic decency. It may even be the first time Tennesseans see LGBT people in an affirming light.
Don’t worry, your video doesn’t have to be perfect. Look at mine – I’m no videographer. The story is what counts. Can you submit your Testimony as I did? Click here to get started: http://www.couragecampaign.org/DontSayGay.
Thanks for all you do,
Rick Jacobs Chair and Founder, Courage Campaign, and native Tennessean