Post by Western New York Organizer Alden Bashaw
Last night Rochester area activists gathered with Director of Upstate Organizing Sheilah Sable and me, along with our local community partners - Equality Rochester, Pride At Work, Marriage Equality New York and Human Rights Campaign - to celebrate the hard work that our community put into this year’s successful marriage campaign. The work of all our organizations and our steadfast volunteers was critical to Sen. James Alesi becoming the first Republican in the Senate to come out publically in support of marriage for all loving couples in New York State. About 40 dedicated volunteers joined us at Shea’s Restaurant in Rochester, with entertainment for the evening provided by Deb Mangione.
Volunteers are the backbone of all of our organizations. They help all of us to achieve the many victories that we have under our belts, and at times when we get discouraged their tenacity reminds us of why we do the work we do. Fittingly, one of the couples who volunteered on the marriage campaign actually booked the restaurant where we held the event last night for their wedding rehearsal dinner in October. The Pride Agenda, Equality-Roc, Pride at Work, MENY and HRC have been privileged and lucky to share and work with so many talented and dedicated volunteers in Rochester. I personally look forward to continuing to work with all of our volunteers as we push forward on winning full equality and justice for LGBT New Yorkers and our families.
There was much talk last night of the broad and cohesive coalition that was built in the Rochester region through the marriage campaign. While everyone took the time to celebrate by enjoying some fabulous food (I’m going to have to run a few extra miles this week after all of those chicken and waffle bites) and a few drinks, there was a clear sense in the air that while marriage is a huge victory for our community, we still have work to do to ensure equality and justice for all New Yorkers. All of the speakers talked about taking the momentum we have built in our community and using it to work together to finally pass a statewide transgender rights law.
Please email me at abashaw AT prideagenda DOT org to get more involved in Western New York, and check out the rest of the photos on our Facebook page.