Monday, October 19, 2009

Thanx For A Great Week of NCOD Events

Hey Friends, Family, and Allies,

We made it through our second year of National Coming Out Week events, and on behalf of the Pride Center, I would like to thank all of those who worked so hard to make all of these events possible. It was very appreciated to see our Straight Allies, Marguerite Felice, and Steve and Toni Schildcrout at so many events. To our core team, Bob Holmes, Marita Emmert, Liam, Diana Shaheen, Karen and Laura Davis, Anita Davis, Javonne LFontaine and Don Rowinski, you all went above and beyond.

Lunch with a Decision Maker finally got Congressman Tim Ryan to make an appearance at the Pride Center, and David Betras showed as well and re-affirmed his commitment to the LGBT community. Good job Don on arranging the luncheon, and representing us with a contingency in Washington DC for the March for Equality. Pride Youngstown held an excellent panel discussion on working with the police and the LGBT community with excellent speakers from Cleveland and Columbus as well as Pride Youngstown founders Carlos, Anita, and Kim. YSUnity had a couple of good movie showings, but didn’t really have the attendance. In a school of 14k there needs to be more support to their organization. The interesting but enjoyable movie, “Breakfast on Pluto,” was enjoyed by a small group of people at the Pride Center, and each having our own individual microwave popcorn was yummy! Over 15 members of the First Federated Church in North Jackson came to a showing there of, “For The Bible Tells Me So,” always an eye opening movie. Marita brought some great experts on gay adoption and family rights for the panel discussion Thursday night. We all learned a lot and we really learned how All Families Matter. The Cocoa Mocha dance was decorated fantastic and had plenty of food at the Unitarian Church on Friday. Everyone who went had a great time. Saturday we had coffee and wine enjoyed by all as we wrapped up our week of events and again, thanx for everyone who made it possible. There were a lot more donations this year than last, and we are learning more and more each year how to make it better.

Our only regret was that as nice as all the events were and as much as we liked seeing each other, it was the same dedicated group of active people in our community. National Coming Out Day was founded by someone who wanted us to be able to come out to at least one another in our community and stand up for who we are, and what we want to be. We want our NOCD week-long events to do the same. We want to bring people out to our community that we don’t normally see. People who need the friendship, fellowship and resources, that all of our organizations have to offer. We are taking baby steps growing in visibility, and we look forward to more and more people coming out not only of the closet, but to all of the opportunities the LGBT community in the Mahoning Valley has to offer, which is much more than people realize. Like politics? The Stonewall Democrats are for you. Need family resources and help with others who know what it’s like adopting, creating lives together, and becoming an LGBT family? All Families Matter is the place to go. Mom, Dad, Best Friend, Grandma doesn’t really know how to react to you now that you are an out member of our community? PFLAG gives them a place to talk about it, provide support, and offer many resources. Feel like you are minority in a minority? People of All Colors Together, (PACT,) offers great support and a sense of community within our LGBT community. Out and Proud, and love to organize events and have a good time? Pride Youngstown needs energetic volunteers to make the 2010 Youngstown Pride Festival and their other events a big success and are always looking for motivated members of our LGBT community.

Finally, we at the Pride Center are happy to act as a facilitator and resource group for the entire LGBT community, organizations and our allies. My goal as Chairman is to raise the visibility of our community, get the leaders in all of our associations to work together for a common goal of being out and affirming the good we all can do, and to be a resource for those that are questioning, confused, scared, and need a place to hang out where they can be who they are, among others who understand what they are going through and want to help. Welcome to the LGBT community, tell your friends, and Just Show Up! I hope to see some of you this Wednesday at our regular Pride Center meeting at 7:30. We will be having, support, fellowship and popcorn and a movie.



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