Wednesday, November 02, 2005

LGBT Puerto Ricans for Fernando Ferrer

While in Puerto Rico a few days ago, where I was attending a strategy meeting for the National Latino Coalition for Justice, which advocates for the right to marriage for same-sex couples, I ran into Olga Orraca, one of the best known - if not the leading - LGBT and lesbian activist in Puerto Rico. It had been almost five years since I last had seen her and she looked beautiful and radiant. During a break, Olga pulled me to the side and urgently asked: "OK! Tell me everything that you know about what's going on with the LGBT community in New York City and Fernando Ferrer!"

The weekend after Fernando Ferrer won the Democratic primary election in New York, he flew to Puerto Rico to engage the powerful political allies he has in the island. Puerto Rican politics have a bigger impact in New York among Latino communities than you can imagine so the move was a smart one. But, showing that his support for LGBT rights in New York was not just a way to pander to a politically active community, Ferrer also met with members of the LGBT community in Puerto Rico including Olga Orraca and long-time AIDS activist José "Chenin" Oquendo (both are pictured above, Olga in center wearing white and José sitting in his wheelchair, Ferrer is also featured in the center of the photograph).

Today José wrote:
Just as David defeated Goliath, our community - when united around a common purpose - will be able to engineer a huge defeat and elect the man who will take the city of sky-scrapers on a better path: An inclusive, responsible one, ready and able to work tiredlessly to resolve the city's most pressing problems.

Call your colleagues, friends and relatives and ask them to come out on November 8th to vote for Fernando Ferrer for mayor of New York City. United we will engender tremendous change...
As for Olga, she will be part of a delegation traveling next week from the island to New York City to campaign for Ferrer. If everyone here could be half as riled up and ready to campaign than the people coming from Puerto Rico next week, I'd say that Ferrer would be on better electoral ground than he has been lately. He did great tonight in the last mayoral debate of this mayoral season but he will need all the help he can muster and those people coming from Puerto Rico really do mean business!

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