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GLBT group endorses Bernal in District 1 race
QSanAntonio.com, March 1, 2011

A group of GLBT and allied activists will announce today that they are forming a coalition to elect attorney Diego Bernal to the San Antonio City Council District 1. The press release, which follows below, was released early to gay media outlets.

The group which includes Darrell Parsons, Eric Alva, Luis Carlos Freay, Ana Perez-Ingram and Joe Arriola say that one of their goals is "to raise awareness that we have a very qualified, articulate, and sincere LGBT ally, running for City Council."

The District 1 race is a five-way contest and will most likely go into a runoff election. Besides Bernal the other contenders are Carolyn Kelley, Ralph Medina, Lauro Bustamante and Chris Forbrich, a gay man who in the last District 1 election garnered nearly 40 percent of the vote against incumbent Mary Alice Cisneros.

Following is the press release issued by the Bernal coalition:

Dear Friends,

It is an honor for me to be supporting Diego Bernal for City Council, District One, and to announce a coalition of LGBT/Allied supporters of Diego Bernal. I became aware of Diego's candidacy through a story in the Express News and from what I read, I knew immediately that this was a candidate that I was eager to learn more about. I reached out to Diego and questioned him on his views of social justice, human rights, LGBT equality and how he would incorporate equality and fairness into our city government. I was not disappointed.

I recently arranged for a small group of activists in the LGBT-Allied community to meet with Diego and they too walked away from that meeting with the feeling that this man has the knowledge, the depth, and the ability to be an articulate voice and strong advocate for LGBT equality and fairness in San Antonio. The impression was so great, that the group has committed to hosting a fundraiser for Diego on March 23rd. Those supporters and hosts of the upcoming fundraiser for Diego include; Joe Arriola and Kris Sumantri, Eric Alva, Luis Carlos Freay, Ana Perez-Ingram, and myself. During this meeting, Diego committed to supporting two important and very symbolic issues for our community.

1. As a City Councilman, Diego will support and advocate for the idea of a LGBT Community Center as a necessary resource for our community. To have a voice on the City Council advocating for something our community has struggled to create, will give us an important and credible ally in city government.

2. As a City Councilman, Diego has committed to participate in our Annual Pride Parade. While this is not a policy issue; the symbolism of city council participation is enormous. For years, our community has invited the San Antonio City Council members to participate in our Pride Parade and those invitations have been consistently ignored. Diego will be the first straight/allied City Councilman to recognize and respect our community through his participation.

I believe that Diego will follow through on theses pledges and is not your typical "election year supporter". I believe this to be true, based on the work he has done in his two professions as a social worker and attorney. Diego and I both earned our Master of Social Work Degrees from The University of Michigan. I can tell you firsthand that this university teaches and instills social justice and advocacy; and to have their graduates fight against social injustice, wherever it occurs. As an attorney, Diego specializes in civil rights and has worked as an attorney for MALDEF; need I say more. He believes that civil rights are human rights for everyone. These are the values that are instilled in Diego Bernal.

Please know that this is not about supporting one candidate over another; as there are other qualified candidates in this race. Our support for Diego Bernal is about supporting the best qualified candidate to represent an area of our city that is important to the LGBT community. It is about supporting an advocate with the depth, knowledge, and the know-how to be an articulate voice for equality and fairness. It is about supporting the candidate who who truly wants to give back to his home city and work toward making our city a better place for all its citizens. These are the reasons we are supporting Diego Bernal for City Council.

Please join us on March 23rd from 6-8 at the Skyroom of the Vidorra Condominiums for a fundraiser for Diego. Even if you are not ready to commit your support to Diego, we would like to encourage you to attend and have the opportunity to meet this amazing candidate. He is an ally and we believe that he will have a bright future in elective office and he is someone that our community needs to know. You can give what you can afford or give nothing at all, if you just want the opportunity to meet with Diego. We hope you will consider attending.

Sincerely,

Darrell Parsons, Joe Arriola, Kris Sumantri, Eric Alva, Luis Carlos Freay, and Ana Perez-Ingram

Forbrich responds to formation of Bernal coalition
QSanAntonio.com, March 1, 2011
District 1 City Council candidate Chris Forbrich says that a GLBT coalition formed to support one of his opponents, attorney Diego Bernal, will only serve to divide the gay community at a time when unity is desperately needed.