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Manifesting Equality in The City Of Angels

Manifest Equality Gallery brings together artists such as Barry McGee, Swoon, Robbie Conal and Jim Goldberg for their gay rights art show

It was shock to many when Proposition 8 was passed in the state of California. Many of my gay friends viewed California, especially Los Angeles, as the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) land of milk and honey. The outcry was loud and the rallies were huge, but nothing happened. Soon, laws were overturned in state after state where gay marriages were once allowed, and the union between man and man and woman and woman became no longer valid. It left me with a heavy heart.

Late last year in Washington DC, I ran into my friend Yosi Sergant. He had moved out to there after his successful “Manifest Hope” campaign for Obama and taken a job within his ranks. But after an interior fall out, he was making his way back home to Los Angeles, and very high on his agenda was raising awareness of Proposition 8. I recall his regret for not helping more when Proposition 8 had initially failed the LGBT community. I remember him saying that he should have done more, but couldn’t because he was focused on “White House issues”. But what I will never forget is looking at Yosi as he explained to me exactly what he was going to do. Using art as his medium once again, he would take this muddled social issue and make it into a powerful visual experience that people could understand. He was determined, and when he got home, he hit the ground running.

Under six themes: Equality, Justice, Respect, Civil Rights, Unity, and Love, Manifest Equality brings together 100 artists including Barry McGee, Swoon, Robbie Conal and Jim Goldberg. Yosi, Apple Via and Jennifer Gross pooled their resources, knowledge, and rolodexes to spread the word. LA glitterati such as Marisa Tomei, Heather Graham, Jason Lee and Darryl Hannah came to the opening night to lend their name and their support for the unrestricted equality for all Americans.

The most touching part of the evening had to be Cleve Jones, activist and friend of slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk. His impassioned speech brought many to tears. His words and his actions, remind us that the fight is not over, and won’t be until we take a stand. Together we can change the world, but we can only do so if we act. You can’t help who you love, and shouldn’t hate someone because they love differently to you: love is love.  

Make a point to go and tell your family and friends.

Manifest Equality Gallery. March 3rd-7th. 1341 Vine St., Hollywood. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 – 6. Saturday and Sunday. Free.