Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Speeches from the Fall Dinner

Last Thursday night was our annual Fall Dinner at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers in Midtown Manhattan. The event is the Pride Agenda's largest fundraiser of the year and brought together a mix of donors, activists, elected officials and celebrities.

Speakers at the Dinner included activist/blogger David Mixner, UFT President Randi Weingarten, NYS Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith, NYS First Lady Silda Wall Spitzer, Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle and Assemblymember Daniel O'Donnell. Caroline Rhea emceed and LaChanze performed. It was a great evening.

Below are speeches from Mixner, Weingarten and Van Capelle:

(Part 2)

(Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4)

Other elected officials in attendance were: U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Anthony Weiner and John Hall; NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn; NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli; NYC Comptroller William Thompson, Jr.; NYS Senators Tom Duane, Marty Conner and Liz Krueger; NYS Assemblymembers Richard Gottfried, Sam Hoyt and Matthew Titone.

And, in case you missed it, our friends at Good As You and Queerty joined the fun, too.

1 comment:

John M said...

Being 18 years old and gay, I am humbled by the speech given by Mr. David Mixner. I owe so much to the all of the men and women involved in the LGBT rights movement, we all do. It is because of Mr. Mixner's bravery and the bravery of all those who were with him that I live in a world where I could come out of the closet in the sixth grade. While it isn't easy being openly gay, I don't worry that I could be forcibly lobotomized, I don’t have to hide who I am in order to hold a job, receive medical care, find housing, etc. In the eleventh grade I did a book report on the Stonewall Riots for my United States history class. We had an excellent unit on civil rights, but I couldn’t help but notice that the Stonewall Riots of 1969 were never once mentioned in our textbook. And to make matters worse it was an advanced placement course, and so many colleges use the same textbook as we did. When I read Stonewall: the Riots that Sparked a Revolution, I was shocked to learn that LGBT people could be lobotomized, denied healthcare, fired from their jobs, denied housing, and that they were frequently entrapped by homophobic law enforcement because of the sodomy laws. I had some idea of the situation of LGBT people, but reading that book made me so much more aware of how far we have come in just over 50 years. And hearing Mr. Mixner’s recollection of homophobic America’s forced lobotomies took the situation out of a book, like Stonewall, and gave it a face and a personality. America looks back on the how it treated LGBT people 50 years ago and it is embarrassed that it violated the basic human rights of its own citizens. It makes it difficult for America to tell other states not to commit human rights violations when it gave the legal right to lobotomize its own LGBT citizens simply because the LGBT community is a minority group. And just as Americans look back on the situation 50 years ago with embarrassment and shame, 50 years from now it will look at the debate over marriage equality, transgender non-discrimination, and safe schools with shame. America will be embarrassed that in the 1950s it got it wrong, that America screwed up and that right now it was given a second chance to make things right and it’s still screwing up. Reflecting on Mr. Mixner’s speech, I am grateful at how far we have come, and I am hopeful that America will learn from its mistakes and not take 50 more years to reach full equality for all of its citizens.