Who would have imagined that what took place 52 years ago, would be making an impact on our country and communities still today?
With defiance, courage, and conviction, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and allied individuals reacted on June 28, 1969, to the police raid on the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. This outcry for justice prompted Craig Rodwell, Fred Sargeant, Ellen Broidy, and Linda Rhodes, to propose on November 2, 1969, the first gay pride parade to be held in New York City.
A half-century later, we witness Gay Pride parades, festivals, and events the world over. Famed artist, Vincent Van Gogh, is quoted as having said, “Making progress is like miners’ work: it doesn’t advance as quickly as one should like, and also as others expect; but faced with such a task, patience and faithfulness are essential.”
Today, as a community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied people, may we remember that our work for equality and justice is not in vain. On account of the patience and faithfulness of others before us, our Pride marches are more than just events. We can be PROUD of how far our culture and society have come. In healthy and hope-giving ways we can be PRIDEFUL knowing that each one of us is a beautiful human being endowed with goodness and ability to make this world a more welcoming, affirming, and caring place. With proud spirits, and prideful acknowledgement of our humanity, we need always be PREPARED to take the next steps to seeing justice and equality become reality.
These steps will challenge us each to listen more carefully and compassionately to one another. These steps will challenge us to take often the high road of character especially when words and actions of others dismiss and disrespect our human dignity. These steps will challenge us to carry the movement for equality for everyone from courtrooms and sanctuaries and temples and mosques to our homes and neighborhoods.
Taking some liberty with an oft-quoted quote, I remind us in this 52nd year since the Stonewall outcry for justice, “We ain’t what we oughta be; we ain’t what we wanna be; we ain’t what we’re gonna be, but thank G*d we ain’t where we’ve been!”
So…be PROUD, be PRIDEFUL, be PREPARED as Pride month is experienced once more. Know that you too have a part in making your community a more welcoming and affirming place…for EVERYONE.