Action campaigns I’ve done

LGBT Leaders Unite to Support Rep. Patrick Murphy, October 2010

Myself, AMERICABlog’s Joe Sudbay and Courage Campaign’s Rick Jacobs decided to create a video highlighting how, amid headlines of division over tactics and strategy in the LGBT movement, LGBT leaders could unite for a common purpose. That purpose was re-electing Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), our strongest advocate in the House of Representatives on repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I wrote the script and concept for the video, and my colleagues and I reached out to our “actors” with the idea. The response was tremendous and the video was filmed and produced in less than 3 days. The video, which can be seen here, was launched on Thursday, October 22nd and within 24 hours, over $3,000 had poured in and it was covered in The Advocate, Politico, and widely around the progressive LGBT blogopshere. The video ended up raising $7,869 from 149 supporters, making our contribution page the single largest fundraising page or committee for Murphy on ActBlue in the 2010 cycle.

Blogswarm to Lift FDA Ban on Blood Donations from MSM, June 2010

In June 2010, I led an effort to pressure a critical HHS committee to end discrimination and unsound science in federal rules regarding the donation of blood products. FDA rules currently prohibit any kind of blood products or bone marrow donations from men who have sex with men, or “MSM”. The outdated policy, created in 1985, effectively targets gay and bisexual men by not distinguishing between high-risk and low-risk MSM, banning potential MSM donors who are HIV-negative and consistently practice safe sex or are in long-term monogamous relationships, while subjecting others with a significantly higher risk of HIV infection to less restrictive deferrals or none at all. The ban also contributes to a dangerously and chronically low blood supply in a country in which approximately just 5% of all eligible donors give. While the policy is in place under the guise of caution, newer tests that shorten the window in which HIV is undetectable, along with mandatory screening of every donation for HIV, make a lifetime ban outdated and dangerous for public health policy. According to Williams Institute, an end to the ban would result in an estimated 130,150 donors per year, generating 219,000 pints of blood per year, each of which can help save up to three lives.

In June 2010, the HHS Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability convened a two-day meeting to determine whether to keep or revise the policy. I organized a blogswarm to ask supporters to e-mail the Executive Secretary of the Advisory Committee charged with accepting public comment. The action was posted by colleagues on OpenLeft, AMERICABlog,, Bilerico Project, Blabbeando,, DailyKos (rec list), David Badash, Firedoglake-The Seminal, Good As You, Joe Mirabella, Joe. My. God., LGBTPOV, Mike Signorile, Pam’s House Blend, and Rod 2.0.It was also covered on NPR, Mike Signorile’s Sirius/XM OutQ 109 show and in Metro Weekly. Over 700 e-mails poured in, all in support of a revised policy that is based on risk and not sexual orientation. While unfortunately the committee voted narrowly (6-9) to retain the existing policy given the lack of agreement upon an alternative, it also voted unanimously to recommend the policy as “suboptimal” and ordered that plans be drawn up to research a appropriate replacement, a process which is currently moving forward in federal health agencies.

3-2-1 Countdown for Equality, October 2009

In the 2009 elections, three different LGBT initiatives were on the ballot: Proposition 1 in Maine (marriage equality), Referendum 71 in Washington State (domestic partnerships) and the Kalamazoo Non-Discrimination Ordinance (LGBT-inclusive human rights ordinance). Partly due to the fact that it was an off-year election, there was a lack of attention to the campaigns in the traditional media and lots of questions poured in during the final week from grassroots activists regarding what the campaigns were about and how they could help.

With the help of my colleagues Julia Rosen and Karl-Thomas Musselman, we put together a “who/what/where/how you can help” action page called “3-2-1 Countdown for Equality: No Bittersweet Victories” designed to lay out the campaigns and quick ways people could help in the final days. We then asked fellow bloggers to write about the campaign and spread the word, and I listed all the supportive posts on OpenLeft. Within 36 hours, 47 posts from blogs large as large as DailyKos and as small as TransOhio went up, helping generate literally tens of thousands of dollars in free media for the campaigns and generating an outpouring of GOTV efforts and fundraising in the final few days of the elections. The full list can be found here.

No On 1/Protect Maine Equality, October 2009

I worked closely with the No On 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign, including being part of a small team planning and executing a successful moneybomb to raise $1.1 million on ActBlue by October 15th, the last financial reporting period deadline and first day of early voting in Maine. In October 2009, I decided to travel to Maine in order to bring attention to the race outside of traditional LGBT circles, and to work more closely with the campaign on the ground. I asked OpenLeft readers to chip in to cover travel expenses; just over $3,000 generously poured in to cover expenses. I also traveled with the sponsorship of the New Organizing Institute’s National LGBT Blogger and Citizen Journalist Initiative.

I ended up spending about a week and a half on the ground in Maine covering undercurrents of the race like the tension between the Catholic Diocese and rank-and-file parishioners over the ballot question, the emergence of a unified non-Catholic religious community of supporters, and the use of new social media techniques to amplify the campaign’s volunteer operation. All my writing on the ground can be found here. I also wrote and produced a thank-you video from the campaign to grassroots supporters around the country, and ended up returning for the final few days before the election for last-minute fundraising and GOTV, including raising over $70,000 in less than 6 hours the day before the election for last-minute response ads and GOTV. The trips were considered some of the newer examples of bloggers “embedding” themselves on the ground to cover and support a campaign.

The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be, Spring 2009

I was the lead researcher, editor, fact-checker, publishing house liaison, and marketer for Mike Lux’s book The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be. The process started in late 2007 and the book was released in January 2009. I planned and executed the 60-event, 29-city national book tour and traveled extensively to promote the book with Mike. This included online promotion such as targeted advertising and blog marketing; planning and executing book tour travel and stops around the country; and radio/television appearances. All coverage of the book and book tour can be found at