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Reflecting on our achievements, resolving to be active

Posted: December 28th, 2012 | Columns, Featured, Political Spectrum | No Comments

Allan Acevedo | Political Spectrum

The holiday season is here as is the end of the year. This is a great time to stop and reflect on many of the victories the LGBT community has won this year here in San Diego.

Allan Acevedo

Major congratulations go out to our new Council President Todd Gloria. Gloria has proven himself a strong and capable leader and a true representative of District Three. Gloria and Mayor Bob Filner will have their hands full creating a new narrative for what it means to live in San Diego. The new Council has already been at work this month, not just in technical aspects of running a city but also in the equally important symbolic aspects.

Such as the vote they took earlier this month to ask Congress to start an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission case. This is the case that established that corporate spending in elections was protected by the First Amendment. Unfortunately, freshman San Diego Councilmember Mark Kersey decided not to show up for the vote on this. Kersey is the new Carl DeMaio in District Five, and I hope this is not indicative of how he will operate as a councilmember, though DeMaio himself was infamous for stating he ignored social issues, which are just as real and significant as any other issue.

This year we also said goodbye to State Senator Christine Kehoe, who had to vacate her post due to term limits. Kehoe, a trailblazer for our community, has served our community well through her years on the City Council, the State Assembly and the State Senate.

It is unfortunate that we have lost such a strong voice in Sacramento, but newly elected State Senator Marty Block has long been a strong advocate for the LGBT community minus one vote he skipped out on his freshmen year in the Assembly, where he failed to vote on a resolution opposing Proposition 8. Block has since been a strong advocate for our community, and while he may not be a member of our community, I am confident he will continue advocating for us as Kehoe did in the past.

We will soon have an opportunity to send another strong progressive LGBT advocate to Sacramento. Owing to the fact that State Senator Juan Vargas won his election to the Congress, he will be leaving his current office shortly and Assemblymember Ben Hueso has already announced he plans to run for that seat, when a special election is called to fill Vargas’ term. In turn, should Hueso be successful, San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council CEO Lorena Gonzalez has announced she intends to run for Hueso’s assembly seat when it opens up.

Gonzalez has been a long-time advocate for working families and the LGBT community. She is exactly the type of voice we need in Sacramento, building bridges between the social justice movements that need a voice and an advocate. Gonzalez once ran for the City Council in District Two but lost, and has since moved to the historic Sherman Heights neighborhood. A single mother, a Latina and an ally to the LGBT community, we could not have asked for a better role model and leader to step up to the challenge of getting California back to work and ensuring that we treat all Californians equally.

As I’ve written before, we may also have the opportunity to add another member of the LGBT community to the City Council. Dwayne Crenshaw has officially announced he will be running for the vacated District Four seat in an upcoming special election that will likely take place at the end of March.

While the idea of an elected official being openly LGBT or LGBT-friendly seems like such a banal concept today, we must remember the hard work that was done by those that came before us to ensure that today we can not only expect but demand a voice at the table and be confident that either we will have one of our own in office or someone who will fight for us as if they were part of our community.

We must also remember that the work is not yet done and we must continue to move forward. Often times people believe we’re done when we hit a milestone, when in fact we should use that achievement to reflect on how we got there and how we can, together, take the next step forward.

In 2013, I look forward to celebrating more victories with you and hope that we all make a year-end resolution to be more active and engaged in our community at whatever level.

—Allan Acevedo is co-founder and president emeritus of Stonewall Young Democrats of San Diego. He has worked on multiple political campaigns and served on numerous boards including the San Diego Democratic Club, California Young Democrats, Gay-Straight Alliant Network and Equality California PAC. Follow @allanacevedo on Twitter.

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