Jones may be most familiar to America from the feature film, Milk where he was portrayed by Emile Hirsch, as Harvey Milk's tireless deputy. He was also the driving force behind the moving AIDS quilt. It would be impossible to do justice to the breadth of Jone's work not only for the LGBT community, but also on behalf of HIV, and labor.
My initial reaction was twofold:
1. Terrific! Jones well deserves to be honored.
2. This could get interesting.
Part two is because Cleve is both an icon and an iconoclast. He has in the past said, Proposition 8 was the best thing to happen to the gay community. He also recently took the LGBT community to task for relying too much on corporate dollars. I, personally, mostly disagree with his essay, but appreciate his perspective.
This honor comes so close on the President's decision to pass on signing an executive order of non-discrimination for federal contractors, a decision that was met with near universal disdain in the LGBT community, as well as on the editorial pages across the country like New York Times, and the Washington Post. It seemed to me this was practically goading Jones to exploit the opportunity to press further on the issue of LGBT employment discrimination as other activists have vowed to do.
And I was right. Seems he's teamed up with GetEqual to focus the media attention, not so much on his honor, but on the problems that still lay ahead to be addressed.
This week, Cleve Jones -- a legend in LGBT organizing -- is meeting with the President during a "Champions of Change" event at the White House. Cleve wants to carry the stories of workplace discrimination with him to the White House -- and he's looking for your help.LGBT employment discrimination does appear to be, at times, a victimless crime. We do not hear the stories as often as you'd think given the statistics. But it is common for many victims of hostile work environments to try to move on quickly with the lives, and try to put the chapter behind them. It may be necessary, both emotionally and financially to do so.
If you've experienced discrimination in the workplace -- in hiring, in firing, being passed over for promotions, being harassed -- we invite you to share your story here. You can be sure that your story will remain anonymous. And if you have friends or family members who have experienced workplace discrimination and would like to share their story with President Obama, please feel free to forward this page to them.
As such, it's great to hear GetEqual organizers say they already have already amassed 70 stories, some unfortunately described as "really heartbreaking."
It'd be great to collect more, so you can tell your story here, or encourage people you know to do the same, and Cleve Jones will be delivering these stories to the White House on behalf of people everywhere who value fair employment practices.