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5 People + 5 Days = 10 Thousand People Turned Out for LGBT Equality

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April 17, 2009

Think that one couple can’t make a big difference? Think again.

When Proposition 8 passed in California, New York college students Dani Ryan and Carrie Harrington were upset and wanted to do something about it. They went online to see how they could get involved, but found that no one was organizing a protest in New York City on the massive national day of action in response to Prop 8. For Dani and Carrie, that just wouldn’t do.

They teamed up with three other activists they met online and in five days (that’s not a typo: FIVE DAYS), they organized a rally in Downtown Manhattan that drew over 10,000 people. Pretty damn amazing for a group of people who’d never done anything like this before.

Dani and Carrie found that they’d been bitten by the activist bug. They’ve been working to get people signed up for Equality and Justice Day, the lobby day for LGBT issues in New York state sponsored by NYCLU and the Empire State Pride Agenda. And that’s been a huge success as well: for the first time ever, the organizers have had to close registration because more people have signed up to attend than the convention center where the event is held can fit. Talk about a good problem to have!

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What’s most inspiring to me about Dani and Carrie’s story is that it shows that it doesn’t take a lot of technical knowledge or connections to make a big difference in a short amount of time. All you need is a vision of what you want to do and the willingness to reach out to other people who can help make it happen.

The lesson is that anyone can be an effective activist. The question is: will you be next?

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