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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 15, 2009
4:52 PM

CONTACT: Equality California (EQCA)

Vaishalee Raja (916) 284-9187
vaishalee@eqca.org

Diverse Coalition Re-Launches Multi-Million Dollar Education Campaign for the Freedom to Marry

Let California Ring is the country’s largest marriage education effort of its kind

LOS ANGELES - October 15 - Today a broad-based coalition re-launched Let California Ring, a comprehensive campaign to build support for marriage for California's same-sex couples with a focus on work in communities of color. A joint effort of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations, funders, and allied partners and hosted by the Equality California Institute, Let California Ring will invest more than $15 million over the next three years to fund the campaign, which will:

  • Develop tailored messaging for all audiences, with a focus on African-American, Asian Pacific Islander, and Latino Californians.
  • Deliver these messages through a multi-media campaign, including television, print and radio advertising, as well as online outreach.
  • Provide opportunities, tools and resources for the 18,000 legally married same-sex couples to share their experiences with audiences throughout the state.
  • Activate straight allies and students to get involved and take action.
  • Engage the faith community at every level, to ensure that supportive voices of faith are given a platform and to bring mainstream and progressive congregations into the educational and organizing work.

Equality California Institute's 20 organizers, working out of nine field offices throughout California, significantly increase the capacity and reach of the Let California Ring campaign.

"The Let California Ring campaign will enable hundreds of thousands of Californians to learn first-hand why marriage matters so much to same-sex couples," said Equality California Marriage Director Marc Solomon. "By combining strategic media campaigns with personal conversations at people's doors, we will make a powerful appeal to Californians that will change hearts and minds. We are committed to building meaningful and lasting partnerships in communities of color. In a state where people of color are in the majority, focusing on this work could not be more important," Solomon added.

Let California Ring will place special focus on partnerships with LGBT organizations that do educational work in communities of color.

"A few months ago many of us said, ‘let's prepare to prevail,'" said Luis Lopez, the founder of the Latino-focused political committee HONOR PAC and a member of the Executive Committee of Let California Ring. "That's exactly what Let California Ring will do. This campaign will engage the right partnerships to do the heavy lifting of reaching out to people of color communities in ways that truly resonate. The time for this campaign couldn't be better," he added.

The model Let California Ring employs is to use multiple channels to engage people on the issue of marriage: targeted advertising, online media, community events, leader activation and on-the-ground organizing efforts in neighborhoods. This continual drumbeat sparks conversations and gets people to talk to others in their circles about marriage for same-sex couples.

"Let California Ring's model of concerted action is the surest and fastest way to win the freedom to marry," said Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry. "By combining the air-cover of media with the ground-work of engaging in the needed conversations - person-to-person, group-to-group - the menu of actions spurred by Let California Ring will persuade the persuadable and help everyone we reach together rise to fairness. The success of Let California Ring will not only advance our cause in California, but also help write the recipe for success nationwide."

Established in 2005, Let California Ring has invested $15 million in marriage education work to date, including $4 million in communities of color, making Let California Ring the largest campaign in the country of its kind. Let California Ring has conducted public education efforts through television, radio and print ads, including implementing the state's largest ever ethnic press campaign on the issue of marriage. The campaign also held community meetings, public forums, and trainings across the state and has provided resources to LGBT organizations working in communities of color. The Let California Ring coalition currently numbers over 50 organizations.

In February 2008, Let California Ring conducted a six-week targeted campaign in Santa Barbara with field, media and advertising components. Public opinion testing showed a 19-point increase in support for the freedom to marry in 18-29 year olds at the campaign's conclusion, with no similar increases in neighboring communities. It also built a cadre of engaged activists who carried the work forward after the educational campaign concluded. Prop. 8 lost by 10 points in Santa Barbara County, the only Southern California county to vote that way.

Let California Ring also won two awards: the Saber Award for best public relations campaign in the United States and the Gold Award from Council on Foundations for best public policy campaign.

For more information or to join the coalition, visit www.letcaliforniaring.org.

Let California Ring is a public education campaign to open hearts and minds about the freedom to marry and the respect, support, protections and responsibilities that come with marriage. Let California Ring is a project of Equality California Institute, working in a diverse coalition of over 50 national, state and local organizations.

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Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians.


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