Social movements are fascinating creatures. They involve so many people of diverse backgrounds and opinions, even within a small minority. Movements of any kind are almost always plagued infighting and power struggles at one point or another. Even with the strong leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, the Civil Rights movement saw counter leadership in Malcolm X.
Very often, the same dynamics can be seen across movements that struggle to achieve their agendas and be made a priority of policymakers in Washington. With the NAACP working hard against Voter ID laws and to win a jobs bill; the Latino movement working hard for the Dream Act and Comprehensive Immigration Reform; and with the LGBT Rights Movement working hard to win marriage equality and job protections, it would seem that there would be very little room to work together.
However, the change sought by a social movement is rarely achieved until allies can be brought on board. That seems to be a message that the leaders of these three movements have begun to understand. And it’s possible that younger activists have driven this new level of cooperation. Most notably, young LGBT activists have been prominent in the fight for the Dream Act, working side by wide with young Latino activists. They are among the first to vocally advocate for “cross-movement organizing”.
Recently, with a marriage equality law on the ballot for Maryland voters to accept or reject, the NAACP Board unanimously voted to support marriage equality. This followed the first African American President of the United States also being the first sitting President to announce his support for marriage equality, long seen as a priority of an LGBT movement long perceived to be dominated by white people.
On the heels of this kind of “cross-establishment cooperation,” movement has been seen in the poll for marriage equality across the nation, particularly in Maryland, where Baltimore and surrounding areasboast a large African American population. At the recent HRC National Dinner, NAACP President Ben Jealous accepted an award on behalf of the NAACP for their warm embrace of LGBT equality.
Similar to the NAACP and other leading black civil rights organizations, in July of this year, twenty-one of the nation’s leading Hispanic organizations announced their endorsement of a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive public-education campaign called Familia es Familia aimed at strengthening Latino voices to build support within the Latino community for acceptance of LGBT family members.
There are lessons to be found in how these movements are cooperating. In managing large businesses, there are often multiple employee resource groups that may have competing priorities. Rather than allow them to play against themselves, Troup Consulting can offer solutions that will result in positive benefits for everyone involved. That’s because we know that diversity is great for business and we can help you harness its power for positive results.
And there it is…