As Michael Sanchez marched through the streets of Westwood last Thursday night, he kept meeting people--many of them young, a mix of gay and straight--who wanted to do more. The chanting was good, even somehow uplifting, but they wanted to reverse Proposition 8, the ballot measure that took away the right of gays and lesbians to legally marry.
"Every ounce of my being will be spent on overturning Proposition 8," Sanchez, a thirty-something talent agent, says recently.
Three days later, a group of mostly first-time activists, and some older veterans, met at Sanchez's home in West Hollywood. They talked for hours, and, by the end of it, they had formed a new grassroots organization with, of course, a new web site. EndH8now was born.
"It's geared towards youth," Sanchez says, "but it's open to everyone."
A protester during a period of calm at the Los Angeles Mormon Temple last Thursday.
So far, there are no designated leaders of endH8now. No president or chairman or executive director. "We are all founders," says Sanchez. "We want to keep this as grassroots as possible." Its "singular mission," the new activist says, is to stop Proposition 8.
"It may turn into something bigger down the road," says Sanchez, "but right now it's only about Proposition 8."
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Tonight, at 5 p.m., endH8now will make a debut of sorts at the Los Angeles Mormon Temple on Santa Monica Boulevard in Westwood. The press release from endH8now says "No on 8" supporters can expect a "colorful protest," and Sanchez promises a big "surprise." The secrecy, though, already has a few people wondering if some kind of violence will break out. Sanchez says that's absolutely not the case.
"We're 100 percent against violence," Sanchez says. "We don't condone violence, encourage it, or use it at any of our protests. The surprise at the Mormon temple will be completely non-violent."
Besides possibly watching an interesting act of civil disobedience, the folks who attend, years from now, may say they stood witness to when a new era of activism officially took off. It all depends, of course, if anyone shows up, and then sticks with the "No on 8" cause all the way to the end.
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.