Mission & Leadership

LEADERSHIP

 

MISSION STATEMENT

The Cleveland Stonewall Democrats is an all volunteer, independent Democratic club that was established in 2000 and is committed to educating, endorsing, electing and holding accountable, pro-LGBT Democrats across Greater Cleveland.  At the state and national level, CSD is committed to improving the record of the Democratic Party and educating voters about the vast difference that exists between the two major parties on issues of importance to our communities. A generation ago, neither the Republican nor the Democratic Party opposed homophobia and today the Democratic Party is THE party of LGBT equality in part due to the work of CSD and other LGBT Democratic clubs and individuals.

The Cleveland Stonewall Democrats are devoted to secure equal rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Toward this mission, we are committed to implement the following action plan:

  • Engage voters to elect Democratic candidates who support issues of importance to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community;
  • Energize the LGBT community to provide financial and volunteer support for LGBT and LGBT-supportive Democratic candidates; and,
  • Advocate for public policy that ensures equal rights and protections for all Americans.

 

WHAT IS STONEWALL?

“Stonewall” refers to the Stonewall Inn – a bar in New York City. While a bar may seem an odd namesake for a political organization, the connection is clearly understood by millions of gay and lesbian Americans, and individuals around the world.

The Stonewall Inn is considered by many to be the birthplace of the modern movement for equality. For most of the 20th century, laws forbade gay Americans from congregating. In many states, like New York, it was illegal to serve alcohol to homosexuals. Police conducted routine raids, and arrested individuals on a regular basis. With few legal places to meet, gays and lesbians often faced jailing if they chose to live their lives openly.

On June 27, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn for the second time that week. Although raids in New York City had become routine, police force that night was especially blunt. As police handcuffed patrons, the crowd grew resistant and began to push back. After a paddy wagon was overturned, more people from the surrounding neighborhood joined the group and the police retreated. The “riot” continued through the next night, and over the course of a week as New Yorkers defended their community from the police. After Stonewall, the small gay community in New York began to organize, and it became more difficult for police to enforce anti-gay laws.

The following year, New Yorkers staged a march to commemorate the Stonewall event. That march helped inspire small gay communities around the country to organize – and it helped usher in the modern “gay rights” movement. Since 1970, individuals have commemorated Stonewall by holding marches and pride events in the month of June.

Stonewall is a touchstone for the lgbt community, and the Stonewall Inn is still open – and is now registered as a national historical location. Various groups around the world have chosen to name their organizations after “Stonewall.” It is a word, in the lgbt community, that is instantly recognized as representing the living of open, honest and unafraid lives.

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