After months of unbelievable hard work, determination, courage and generosity, we have crossed the finish line of the hard-fought 2008 election. We are a country changed with the election our nation’s first African-American president, President-elect Barack Obama. But today we are trailing in the California fight against discrimination.
The current vote count has us behind with an incredibly steep hill to climb. But there are somewhere between 2.5 – 4 million votes that have not yet been counted (provisional ballots and absentees) and the information about where they are from is not yet available. The No on Prop 8 campaign has indicated that, given the incredible gravity of the situation, they will not issue the ultimate call on this election until they have that information (24-48 hours).
Never before in California’s history has a group who currently enjoys a basic right, been singled out, and then had those rights ripped from them by a vote of their fellow citizens. This decision is so radical and so egregious, that every voice must first be heard, no matter how unlikely a changed outcome might be.
We are all diminished whenever discrimination is sanctioned and fundamental rights are stripped away from any of our citizens. We are all diminished when some families in California are denied access to the security and protections they deserve.
In this fight for fairness and justice, tens of thousands of Californians built a campaign that far surpassed any previous civil rights effort on any ballot measure, not only in California, but anywhere in our entire country. They poured their talents, their time, their resources and their hearts into this struggle for freedom and this fight to have their relationships treated equally. Thank you for each and every sacrifice.
And today, at least 5 million Californians voted with us to reject discrimination and we thank them for their support for equality.
Together, we put together the largest volunteer and grassroots network of any campaign other than a presidential campaign. Together, we spoke to our families, our friends, our neighbors and co-workers. Together, we reached outside of our community to build coalitions that will strengthen us all. Together, we raised more money for this fight, in a shorter time than anyone believed possible. And the struggle for equality is not over.
Activist and writer Anne Lamott writes, “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” Because of the struggle fought here in California and fought so incredibly well by the people in this state that love freedom and justice — our fight for full civil rights will continue. Each of you has my very deepest gratitude and my immeasurable respect.
And while we cannot say victory is ours this day, we know that because of the work done here; freedom, fairness and equality will be ours …our dawn will come.
With you always in this struggle,
Dr. Delores A. Jacobs