USD Student, Advocate Invited to White House for Don't Ask, Don't Tell Bill Signing

University of San Diego senior and president of the campus PRIDE Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual Transgender (LGBT) Alliance, Joseph Rocha, has been invited to Washington, D.C., to be present when President Barack Obama signs the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) legislation which bans gays from openly serving in the military.

Rocha, a veteran and gay rights advocate has tirelessly fought for the repeal of DADT.

Since Rocha’s honorable discharge under DADT, he has worked for leaders from President Obama to Congresswoman Susan Davis. In honor of those who did not come back from the Middle East, he has dedicated his life to the fight for human dignity, safety and basic job security for all who serve.

Rocha has testified before city, state, and federal committees and was even arrested while demanding social justice and the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law. Rocha has spoken out against DADT on NPR, CNN and Newsweek, and has written for the Washington Post and the Huffington Post. Most recently he testified in the Log Cabin Republicans suit that successfully proved Don't Ask, Don't Tell unconstitutional on two counts.

Rocha said, “I am dumbfounded to attend this deeply personal and historic bill signing alongside our president and I do so with utmost respect for every veteran and active duty member whom we honor with the full repeal of discrimination among our nation's finest men and women. Tomorrow we will finally see the beginning of an unfolding era of equality.”

Earlier this morning, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi signed the bill in what is called an enrollment ceremony — the ceremonial sending of the bill to the president’s desk. Congresswoman Susan Davis took the opportunity to thank Rocha for his tireless efforts.

Tomorrow’s White House bill signing will take place at 9:15 a.m. EST.

Rocha is available for interviews. Please contact Melissa Wagoner at (619) 260-4659 or Rocha directly at (951) 415-6126.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.