Last night at the Chelsea Robert Goff Gallery there was a packed house waiting to hear the latest updates from Human Rights Watch and their amazing LGBT program. The place grew silent as longtime director of the LGBT program Scott Long shared the difficulties of so many calls from around the world begging for help and the difficulty of reaching them all. Despite his lament, perhaps no other LGBT organization has such a distinguished record of success as the LGBT Division of the Human Rights Watch (HRW). And with good reason.
Rarely have I seen so many people with such intense dedication, patience and selflessness in one room. For many LGBT Americans, the work of this remarkable organization has been in the 'closet' and that should end as soon as possible. Everyone in our community must know of their work and support it fully.
HRW is simply about saving lives and protecting the rights of all people around the globe including here in America. Their work is about excellence and patience. They methodically detail the abuse in any particular situation before going public. When they unveil the abuses they always are on firm ground with a full and comprehensive knowledge of the facts.
Scott Long (photograph) is one of the unsung heroes of the LGBT community. Day in and day out he works to free LGBT prisoners, helps our brothers and sisters escape oppression and is a major force in ending round-ups of LGBT citizens in a number of unfriendly countries. They have had amazing success in Egypt, Iraq, Iran and have been the lead on Uganda. Scott doesn't do this work alone and has an amazing staff comprised of some of our best and brightest.
At the event, an LGBT refugee to the United States (for reasons of protection the description will stop there) spoke of jails, beatings, being hunted down by family members and believing death was right around the corner. The refugee spoke of how through persistence and patience the LGBT division of Human Rights Watch got him safely to this country. There was not a dry eye at the Robert Goff Gallery.
Go to their web page and read of their extraordinary work. Contribute now to their efforts. Volunteer to help them with their work and collect data and do research. The world is a small place now and this organization was made for these times to lead us internationally.