Organizing for America co-hosted an event at Arizona State University celebrating the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. As the Fall Fellow for Tempe, I helped organize the event. It was an exhilarating experience. After meeting with Emily J. and Marcus J., both students at Arizona State University, I was sure that a celebration of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would not only be exciting, but also a great organizational tool. Emily and Marcus, both members of the LGBTQA Coalition at ASU, helped Organizing for America achieve Affiliate Status with the LGBTQA. And the 20-plus members gathered for the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal celebration reaffirmed the mutual benefit that can be reaped if our two groups work together.
I was especially appreciative of the LGBTQA Coalition’s help when we opened the floor for discussion. We talked about the Defense of Marriage Act, DADT, and health insurance benefits for gay partners. During the discussion Organizing for America and the LGBTQA Coalition talked about the work that President Obama has done for the LGBTQA community — support for Edith Winsor in her suit against DOMA and ordering the federal government to extend key benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees — and we discussed ways that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell personally affected them. In the end, the consensus was that this was one big step forward for the LGBTQA community, and represented a great partnership during to celebrate the historic event. We were all proud that President Obama had kept his promise to service members across the nation. Being a Fall Fellow is already rewarding, I can’t wait to work on more events at ASU!