Saturday, September 18, 2010

Students call U.S. lawmakers to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Photo source: The Huffington Post
Simply defined - "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a policy that forbids gay, lesbian and bisexual soldiers in the United States military from revealing their sexual orientation. The policy also restricts military superiors from asking or investing the sexual orientation of servicemen and women - unless there is solid evidence of homosexuality. Civil rights advocates - including President Barack Obama - have advocated a repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy to allow homosexuals to freely and openly serve in the U.S. armed forces. On September 14, 2010, in a commendable display of tolerance and human rights advocacy, two University of Colorado students organised a small campaign - calling U.S. lawmakers to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

The two students - identified as Lauren and Ellie - posted a video of themselves on YouTube, calling the office of the Senator for Colorado - Michael Bennet. In the short phone call, they urged the lawmaker to vote in favor of a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." WATCH...

From the video, it is evident that the students are firmly against the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, and guess what --- Senator Micheal Bennet responded to the students' call in a very short video. WATCH...

Last week, I wrote about using video for human rights advocacy. These two young students have just made their voices heard through video and have drawn their senator's attention to their campaign.

What are your thoughts? Should "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" be repealed?

On September 9, 2010, a federal judge ruled that the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is unconstitutional, but remains to be seen whether the U.S. Senate will repeal the law.

On a side note: I look forward to the day when students and voters in my country - Cameroon - would be able to freely call up lawmakers (parliamentarians) and make their voices heard. Until that day, I'm afraid the concept of "government of the people, by the people, for the people" is a myth in Cameroon and many other African states.

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