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SAN DIEGO -- It’s not very often that one gets to speak with someone who made a profound impact on one of our nation’s most celebrated civil rights leaders. The words spoken by Dr. Clarence B. Jones in a brief interview indicates that his talk at tonight’s Spirit of Stonewall Rally should leave participants in awe and inspired.
Jones, who is the former personal counsel, adviser, draft speech writer and close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., regularly writes and speaks about a number of issues facing Americans today, including equality, civil rights, race relations and other topics.
Currently serving as a Scholar in Residence at Stanford University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Institute, Jones will be keynote speaker at tonight’s Spirit of Stonewall Rally to share his thoughts on the LGBT community, civil rights and equality.
While Jones ran out of time and was unable to share any of his planned speech with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, Jones did say that he will speak about the civil rights movement of the past and how it led to some of the advances that the African-American and LGBT communities enjoy today.
Simply put, Jones says believes that LGBT people are entitled to the same respect and treatment that everyone deserves.
“If God did not love gay people, then why did he make so many of them?” Jones wonders, expressing his support for the LGBT community.
Jones acknowledged that it is sometimes a challenge for him as he works with the African-American church community, as many of its leaders have openly opposed LGBT equality.
What does Jones have to say to these leaders? “Get a grip.”
The LGBT community’s struggle, Jones says, reminds him of something that King told him in 1962 when the two were sharing a room one evening while attending an event.
“Dr. King said to me: ‘You are a winter time solider’,” Jones recalled. When Jones asked King what he meant by that, King told him: “You have been through the hardest of times with me, and you are my winter soldier.”
Jones believes that the LGBT community, too, has been through a type of winter time struggle over the years, and believes that the movement has taken a page from Dr. King’s book.
The scholar is looking forward to speaking at tonight’s rally and sharing his thoughts with the crowd.
The Spirit of Stonewall Rally will begin at 6 pm at Normal Street and Harvey Milk Street in Hillcrest. The event will include San Diego Pride’s annual Stonewall Awards presentation, remarks from Jones, and end with the first-ever raising of the Hillcrest Pride Flag.
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