Last week, liberal gays and lesbians became outraged to learn that U.S. Congressman Allen West would speak Aug. 8 at the Wilton Manors Business Association.
West, a conservative freshman, is well-known for speaking out against gay-rights causes, including repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
Broward gay activists including Michael Emanuel Rajner threatened to boycott the West speaking engagement.
Wilton Manors Business Association President Celeste Ellich quickly canceled West appearance.
Now, a new group, CoFFE (the Coalition for Fairness & Equality) has been formed in Fort Lauderdale by attorney Norm Kent, who also is publisher of South Florida Gay News.
CoFFE will have its first meeting on Aug. 8 at City Hall Square in Wilton Manors, the same night West was supposed to speak to the business group.
Here's the news release:
New Group Challenges Congressman Allen West to Speak to his Constituency
Coalition for Fairness & Equality (CoFFE) Formed to Protect Civil Rights
Congressman West ‘In His Own Words’
A group of concerned citizens, representing the diversity of the South Florida community, has come together and formed ‘The Coalition for Fairness and Equality (CoFFE)’
The group emerged as a response to the cancellation of Congressman Allen West’s (R-FL) speaking appearance in Wilton Manors. The purpose of CoFFE is unifying, not dividing; bringing together the community and its supporters, through open discussions with our elected officials.
The cancelled closed-door meeting with Congressman West has led us to host an event, not in the darkness of a closed room, but in the bright sunshine of Wilton Manors, accessible to all, without qualification or inhibitions on dialogue and debate.
With the aim of education and promoting equality and fairness, we have extended an invitation to Congressman West to join us and address the community in his own words, and meet with his constituency.
The public forum and rally will be held on August 8 at 6 pm, at City Hall Square, 2200 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 33305. Stuart Milk of the Harvey Milk Foundation and the nephew of the late San Francisco gay rights activist, Harvey Milk and Jowharah Sanders, Founder and Executive Director, Justice at National Voices for Equality Education & Enlightenment will be among the scheduled speakers.