Saturday, October 22, 2011


Canvass for a Cause Organizer on Marriage Equality, Occupy San Diego

radio interview by MARK GABRISH CONLAN

Sneak audio preview of an interview scheduled for publication in the December 2011 Zenger’s!



Welcome to Zenger’s on the air, the radio program based on Zenger’s Newsmagazine, a print publication of alternative lifestyles, media, politics, culture and health in San Diego since 1994. Today we’re presenting an interview with Nico D’Amico-Barbour, regional field organizer for the Queer rights and marriage equality group Canvass for a Cause. Founded in the wake of the defeat for marriage equality in California when Proposition 8, which banned legal recognition of same-sex marriages, was passed by voters in November 2008, Canvass for a Cause was started to get the marriage equality message out to residents not only in San Diego’s so-called “Gayborhoods” of Hillcrest, North Park and University Heights, but throughout the city. It was also designed to raise money so its members could not only spread the message of marriage equality but get paid for doing so. Nico started off as a canvasser and rose through the ranks, and is now helping not only to run the Canvass for a Cause in San Diego but to start a second chapter in Los Angeles.
Of course, Nico and I had a lot more to talk about than that. By chance, the day I interviewed him, October 13, was also the date the San Diego police announced their crackdown on the ongoing Occupy San Diego camp-out in the Civic Center Plaza. The police originally ordered everyone out of the plaza, then relented and allowed them to stay but only as long as they didn’t have tents. Nico so strongly supports Occupy San Diego that he’s been spending time at the occupation site and originally wanted us to do the interview there, though his duties with Canvass for a Cause made him reschedule for the Canvass headquarters at — ironically — an old Mormon church just south of 10th Street and Robinson in Hillcrest. While we were doing the interview, we were interrupted by a young man coming to apply for a job with Canvass for a Cause, a long-time staff member who needed Nico’s attention, and a phone call from a person Nico was letting go. They’re certainly a busy group, not only with the marriage equality canvass but also with a subsidiary organization called Gay Groups Give Back, which raises money for non-Queer causes like earthquake relief for Haiti.
Nico’s remarks went beyond his work with Canvass for a Cause. Stressing that he was speaking as an individual and not for the Canvass, he talked about Occupy San Diego — including what he thinks distinguishes it from the Right-wing Tea Party movement — and also gave his personal opinion about the decision of the statewide Queer lobbying organization Equality California not to seek an initiative to repeal Proposition 8 on the November 2012 ballot. Nico is clearly an up-and-coming leader in the equality movement and for progressive causes in general, and for that reason, and to preserve his comments on Occupy San Diego and other cutting-edge issues and get them before the public as soon as possible, we’re taking the unusual step of presenting this interview in audio form before it’s published in the print version of Zenger’s Newsmagazine. Accordingly, reproduction of this interview in text form, either on paper or online, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Mark Gabrish Conlan. Non-commercial reproduction of the actual audio is allowed and, indeed, encouraged.
To contact Canvass for a Cause, visit their headquarters at 3705 10th Avenue in Hillcrest, phone (619) 630-7750, e-mail them at, contact the Canvass for a Cause page on Facebook, or visit their Web site at That’s (619) 630-7750, e-mail, or on the Web.