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Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor

From Fox News:

Activist groups, including Scouting for All, urge President Obama not to accept the honorary Presidency of the Boy Scouts of America until they stop discriminating.

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Edgar Rodriguez

  • Social Justice Optimist
  • Educator
  • Team Leader
  • New York Coalition for Inclusive Scouting
  • Hate Crimes Team Coordinator, Simon Wiesenthal Center's Tools for Tolerance® National Institutes Against Hate Crimes, NYC Team
  • Committee Chair, Common Threads Youth Empowerment Leadership Program
  • Board Advisor, The Network of Lesbian and Gay Business and Professional Organizations
  • Member, NYC Police Council for Lesbian and Gay Concerns
  • Executive Director, Gay Officers Action League, (GOAL) NY
  • NYPD Sergeant

Born in Harlem, and raised in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx. Currently a Manhattan resident. Involvement with community started as a young teenager. Early teen activities included being a counselor at a neighboring parish's summer youth program and patrolling with his neighborhood watch team. Childhood dream was to be a doctor or police officer so in his later teens he volunteered in a Bronx Precinct as an Auxiliary Police Officer and with a neighboring volunteer ambulance corps as an Emergency Medical Technician.

As a volunteer in Jacobi Hospital's emergency room, he took the police test he was swept into the police academy where his work would earmark him to bypass the NYPD's rookie training program.

He was then immediately assigned to patrol the 44th Precinct in the Highbridge section of the Bronx.

As a rookie cop he acknowledged that he was gay and began to put his skills to work for the lesbian and gay community. Although he was deeply closeted, he began to draw bloods and do STD screening for St. Marks Clinic and Community Health Project, which is today's Calin-Lorde Community Health Clinic.

Calin-Lorde is one of the world's lar gest medical facilities dedicated to the medical needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

After serving in a variety of patrol assignments, which included undercover narcotics and anti-crime, he was chosen to work in a progressive youth education and mentor program where he served as a role model and group leader for children in the City's public, private and parochial schools.

His assignments included the School program to Educate and Control Drug Abuse (SPECDA) and the Police Athletic League (PAL).

He began to also volunteer for the Institute for the Protection of Lesbian and Gay Youth, known today as the Hetrick Martin
Institute. It was at the Institute where he learned that the highest rate in suicide was in lesbian and gay youth. As a role model for youth in the New York City school system, he realized that remaining in the closet perpetuated this horrendous condition. He then came out and be a role model for all youth.

He initiated his coming out by par ticipating in the first recruitment poster ever developed to recruit lesbians and gays into the NYPD.

He has since been a visible gay activist and began to serve on the Executive Board of the Gay Officers Action League, also known as GOAL. GOAL supported him during what was a very difficult and controversial coming out process.

Established in 1982, GOAL is the nation's oldest police and criminal justice organization striving to address the concerns of LGBT people and people with HIV/AIDS.

GOAL seeks to provide positive role models and have a supportive impact on the lesbian and gay community, the criminal justice system, and society as a whole in terms of advocacy, education, intervention and justice. GOAL continually strives to fight against discrimination, bigotry, prejudice and brutality in all forms. GOAL has initiated and assisted in successful litigation that has impacted positively on the GLBT community in NYC and around the country.

As the first openly gay police supervisor in New York City's Greenwich Village Police Precinct, He put together and coordinated the first ever, racially diversified, team of lesbian and gay police officers specifically charged to recruit lesbian and gay candidates for the NYPD.

He also put together and supervised a highly diversified team of lesbian, gay and straight plain clothes police officers assigned to reduce crimes against lesbians and gays during the period when the gay games and the world cup soccer games were in New York City.

He served as the 6th Precinct Training Sergeant and Community Policing Sergeant were he implemented a host of community improvement initiatives including the 6th Precincts first police bicycle program.

He left the village precinct in the end of 1995 and soon took command of the NYPD recruitment unit.

He is currently a supervisor in the NYPD's Applicant Processing Division, focusing specifically on hiring for the NYPD Cadet Corps Program.

He has been on the Mayor's Police Council for Lesbian and Gay Concerns since the early 90's when he was appointment by then Mayor, David N. Dinkins.

He also serves on several other LGBT Advisory Boards.

He does media appearances and diversity training nationwide on the topics relating to LGBT people and community in various law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, universities, private corporations and public schools.

In March of 2000 he presented to the senior staff of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the Bureau's first formal training on sexual orientation as it relates to personnel and community issues. He has since been invited educate FBI staff from across
the country. His most notable media appearances were the Daily News Parade Magazine, Beneton's Colors Magazine, the Advocate, Tom Snyder's Show, The Christina Show, The O'Reilly Factor, and in HBO's documentary titled 'Why am I
gay?, Stories of growing up gay in America.' He is continuously moving GOAL towards addressing a wider variety of social justice concerns.

He has been a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the current mayor and the NYPD on issues that impacted on the GLBT community and has aggressively spoken out on issues that affect all disenfranchised communities in our city.

As GOAL's President from 1997-2000, he initiated some of GOAL's current projects. They include a campaign to encourage the Police Commissioner to hire an openly gay NYPD Chaplain, disassociate the NYPD from partnerships with agencies that
discriminate, like the Boy Scouts of America, and addressing criminal justice system policies that adversely affects the health and well being of detainees with HIV/AIDS.

In an effort to further address the concerns of people of transgender experience, he is currently assisting the NYPD in developing policies that would support employees that are considering sex reassignment.

He has received recognition for his work on the Mayor's Police Council by former Mayor David N. Dinkins and honored as the recipient of GOAL's Charles Cochranne Award, the New York City Comp troller's Community Service Award, All Out Art's Community Service Award, the Millennium Democratic Clubs Rosa Parks Award for Courage and Justice, Bailey House's Key Award, the Puerto Rican Initiative to Develop Empowerment's PRIDE Award, and the New York City Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project's Courage Award.

He has recently chosen to relinquish his post as GOAL's President and Chief Executive Officer in order to increase his efforts to educate society about LGBT issues and HIV/AIDS with a special emphasis on youth education.

He is currently presenting to students, faculty and school safety police officers in high schools throughout the state and chairs committees for the Common Threads Youth Empowerment Leadership Program.

Common Threads brings youth together regardless of their sexual orientation for weekend retreats in an effort to reduce violence, homophobia, racism, and sexism and make schools and communities safer.

He is advisor and adjunct member of the board of The Network of Lesbian and Gay Business and Professional organizations. The Network is organized to foster communication and cooperation between the New York City area's diverse lesbian and gay professional organizations. They hold networking and social events, with the participation of our member groups to raise funds for donation to worthwhile nonprofit lesbian and gay social service youth organizations. They also sponsor educational forums and panels on subjects of interest and importance to our community.

He is a lead organizer for the New York Coalition for Inclusive Scouting, an organization of concerned citizens that are working to change the Boy Scout's of America's policy of discriminating against gay and atheist youth and adult volunteers.

He is also on New York City's first team of criminal justice professionals to go to The Simon Wiesenthal Center's Tools for Tolerance® National Institutes Against Hate Crimes in California.

He put together a team which included a judge, district attorney, public defender and law enforcement officers that will educate member's of the criminal justice system and the community at large at a national level about the proliferation of hate crimes and what must be done to stop them.

October 2000 his team initiated this project by presenting to a packed courtroom of New York Criminal and Supreme Court Judges about hate crimes and the implementation of New York State's new Hate Crimes Law, which just went into effect on October 8th, 2000.

He is currently serving as GOAL's Executive Director.

Edgar is also a mentor to an at risk 15-year-old boy named Miguel that is from his birthplace in Harlem. In March 2001 Edgar was among a group of police officers that will be recognized by the Police Commissioner at a ceremony in Police Headquarters for his dedication to mentoring our City's youth.

Because his first meaningful experience with LGBT community causes were with St. Mark's Clinic, the Institute for the Protection of Lesbian and Gay Youth, and the Gay Officers Action League, he has always had a special interest in assisting any
cause that benefits social justice, LGBT youth, and LGBT health and safety.




Scouting For All is not an alternative scouting program.
We are an education and advocacy organization reaching out to gay and nontheist youth and adults in our effort to get the Boy Scouts of America to rescind its exlusionary policy.

Any communications sent to Scouting for All or any Scouting for All representative may be published on the Scouting for All web site or in Scouting for All materials unless the communication specifically requests that it not be published.

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