Don't let the subject line fool you, as I'm sure you, the reader, were expecting a blog about this year's Pride Celebration (for those of you who don't keep abreast of the latest in SC gay culture, Pride will unleash herself upon Finlay Park on September 22). While I'm sure I'll address official "SC Pride '07" later in my rantings, this message concerns a different sense of pride. A pride that has long been absent in my heart and maybe yours too.
Lately, I have developed a true respect for the people of South Carolina, and I am currently proud to say that I am a native of this great state. I have seen a shift and great movement toward achieving human rights for our people. We are emerging as a model of working democracy- I mean democracy at its best. This movement is long overdue, as we have all-too-often experienced democracy at its worst, ranking SC last among the best of things and first among the worst. Perhaps that is why people call us "backwards." Rather than pouring through our history of failings, I will point to our great potential to lead the nation into a kind of 21st Century Renaissance. I hope that my optimism is well-placed because as South Carolina goes, so go the Nation... as the Nation goes, so go the World.
On the historic Friday, August 3, I co-coordinated an advocacy training at the State Capitol entitled: Skills for Engaging the Legislative Process. It was attended and/or co-sponsored by more than 60 representatives of groups like SC League of Women Voters, Richland County Sheriff Department, Mental health associations, Educators, People Against Rape, SC Coalition For New South Carolinians... the list goes on. I facilitated a panel made up of three champions of Civil Rights in the south: Representative Seth Whipper (D-Charleston), Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-Orangeburg), and Tanya Wallace (National Field Director of Women's Action for New Directions [WAND]). Needless to say, the event, speakers, co-sponsors, and participating organizations were so amazing that we decided to make this an annual event. I would like to thank Reps. Cobb-Hunter and Whipper, as well as Tanya Wallace and Bobbie Banks for their help and support. The following is a complete list of Legislative Training co-Sponsors:
CASA Family Systems
College Young Democrats, SC Democratic Party
I would also like to thank Charleston County Democratic Party Chair, Warring Howe, State Party Chair, Carol Khare-Fowler, and Wil Brown of Campaign Systems for fighting their butts of to achieve a numerical goal for LGBT inclusion in the DNC. Oh, and I cannot forget the wonderful Columbia Mayor, Bob Coble, for his continuous support of equality.
The people I just mentioned are fighting for no other reason than to do what they know to be right. No one forced them to work this hard for us, and they deserve our support.
We have an opportunity to make real change in SC this year. Let's not waste it! Please visit the SC Equality Coalition Website for information or click here to make a donation. Your money will be well spent. You may also contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to get involved.