So I did something this weekend I've never done before.
I marched in the parade for Long Beach Pride on Sunday. Participated with a large consortium of students, staff, and faculty from various Southern California universities. Originally, my plan was to drop off the students from my campus and be on my way to enjoy the festivities with my buddies. But I decided to join in with the group. So much fun. And empowering. Will get the pictures up one day soon. And then I joined up with my buddies later.
Stayed ALL day until Jennifer Hudson performance... who was AMAZING!!! And she did sing "And I Am Telling You" live... the whole thing, every note, not one thing lip-synched or electronically enhanced. Fabulous show and performance!
On another note, I know it costs a lot to put on a production like a Pride weekend, and the organizers need to meet basic costs. But I was wondering, if everyone who attends such an event -- and for LB Pride, with each participant spending anywhere from $20 (the basic donation/admission) to upwards of $100+ for the day -- were willing to invest that same amount in an LGBT cause or business, what a difference that would make.
If you're into issues of importance to black LGBT justice issues, try out the National Black Justice Coalition. Or there are many others, including a number of bloggers and online columnists who support important issues. Consider investing in keeping their voices heard.
Then I also started thinking about how, especially among young LGBT of color, the rates of poverty, educational attainment, housing and family dynamics, etc... are of concern. And then I thought about my university, and why there aren't more university recruiters staffing booths at Pride events.
Unless laws change, many of us LGBT of color will be individually responsible for our own old age -- retirement, inheritance, monthly expenses, etc... Many of us will not have our own children who would take on role of caretaker in our senior years. And since getting a college degree increases the likelihood of a more financially stable future, we need more of our young LGBT of color thinking of their financial futures and their education... beyond what graphic t-shirt to wear, or what new dance to learn, or what haircut to get. Those things can come later, once you're set with life.
And for colleges, what better way to work on public relations and image management than to be able to say that the campus actively supports and recruite LGBT of color young people.
It could keep prideful weekends going for generations to come.