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Join with the International Court System and the National LGBTQ Task Force by helping with a letter writing campaign to create a commemorative U.S. postage stamp in honor of Bayard Rustin. Bayard Rustin was an unyielding activist for civil rights, dignity, and equality for all. As an advisor to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he promoted nonviolent resistance, participated in one of the first Freedom Rides, organized the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and fought tirelessly for marginalized communities at home and abroad. As an openly gay African American, he rarely served as a public spokesman but, was an influential advisor to civil-rights leaders. In the 1970’s Rustin became a public advocate on behalf of gay and lesbian causes. On November 20, 2013, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom. As you know, this is America’s highest civilian honor, awarded to individuals who make an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interest of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Bayard Rustin truly stood at the intersection of several of the fights for equal rights and should be recognized for his exceptional dedication to equality. The stamp would further to remind Americans that by honoring Bayard Rustin. We are honoring a true American hero and champion of civil right for all people.


About the Campaign

The International Imperial Court System of the United States, Canada and Mexico was founded in 1965 by War World II veteran Jose Julio Sarria. Sarria a proud Latino activist who in 1961 became the first openly LGBTQA candidate to run for public office in his beloved city of San Francisco which has honored him with a street named after him. Two award winning documentaries have been produced on his life and the International Court System. The International Imperial Court System was one of the first organizations to raise funds against Anta Bryant’s homophobic campaign. There are now 70 court chapters in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Collectively throughout it's chapters the millions of dollars have been raised for LGBTQA causes for now over 55 years. In 2005 Empress Jose crowned San Diego City and County Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez as her heir and successor, she currently reigns as Queen Mother I of the Americas. People from all walks of life are always welcomed as members of the oldest LGBTQA Organization in the world.


About the National LGBTQ Task Force- The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people. The organization is building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress that has been made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. These barriers must go. That’s why the Task Force is training and mobilizing millions of activists across our nation to deliver a world where you can be you.

The Victory Institute - We provide campaign, fundraising and communications support to LGBTQ candidates to increase the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials – because representation is power. When LGBTQ elected leaders are in the room, they humanize our lives, impact policy and legislative debates and influence straight lawmaker colleagues to vote in favor of equality. LGBTQ elected officials are our best defense against anti-LGBTQ efforts at all levels of government, and are best positioned to advance equality for our community.

Image by Sharon McCutcheon


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Image by Teddy Österblom


Bayard Rustin

On November 29, 2013 President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White house presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Bayard Rustin. The President’s comments made to his partner, Walter Naegle and those gathered provided public recognition for the man for so long relegated to the “closet.”

“Now, early in the morning the day of the March on Washington, the National Mall was far from full and some in the press were beginning to wonder if the event would be a failure. But the march’s chief organizer, Bayard Rustin, didn’t panic. As the story goes, he looked down at a piece of paper, looked back up, and reassured reporters that everything was right on schedule. The only thing those reporters didn’t know was that the paper he was holding was blank. He didn’t know how it was going to work out, but Bayard had an unshakable optimism, nerves of steel, and, most importantly, a faith that if the cause is just and people are organized, nothing can stand in our way.


So, for decades, this great leader, often at Dr. King’s side, was denied his rightful place in history because he was openly gay. No medal can change that, but today, we honor Bayard Rustin’s memory by taking our place in his march towards true equality, no matter who we are or who we love.“

President Barack Obama


"If you had been a bus captain en route to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963, you would have known who its organizing genius was, and you wouldn’t have been surprised to see his picture on the cover of Life magazine a week later. Yet of all the leaders of the civil rights movement, Bayard Rustin lived and worked in the deepest shadows, not because he was a closeted gay man, but because he wasn’t trying to hide who he was. That, combined with his former ties to the Community Party, was considered to be a liability.


Still, whatever his detractors said, there would always be that perfect day of the march, that beautiful, concentrated expression of Rustin’s decades of commitment to vociferous, but always nonviolent, protest. It was, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, the “greatest demonstration for freedom” in American history. And it is why, on this 50th anniversary, I ask that if you teach your children one new name from the heroes of black history, please let it be Bayard Rustin."

~Henry Louis Gates, Jr.


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