Candace Gingrich

I have returned

Filed By Candace Gingrich | June 08, 2007 9:10 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Living, Marriage Equality, The Movement, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Congress, hate crimes against LGBT people, Indy Pride, legislation, Matthew Shepard Act, pride, Senate

I've got "Goin' Back to Indiana" bouncing around my head. That song comes to mind every time I come to the Hoosier State but so does the fact that a good lot of the Generation Equality (under-30 voters) that I work with don't even know who the Jackson 5 were. Ah well, back in the day...

Anyhow, I have returned to Indianapolis this week for a radio interview with BloomingOUT (WHFB Bloomington Community Radio), a community meeting at Indiana University and the icing on the rainbow cake - Indianapolis Pride!

The first two events have been organized by HRC's field coordinator, Matt Brunner. This is really cool for me because about 3 years ago, I received an email from a student at IU who was forming a group on campus to be a political voice and force for GLBT equality. He wanted to know if it was okay if they called their group the Hoosier Rights Campaign and went by "HRC." I loved it, said heck yeah, and sent off materials and publications to help with their efforts. Well, that student was Bloomington born and raised Matt Brunner and the Hoosier Rights Campaign went on to win the IU Student Group Award for promoting diversity and collaboration in 2004. To top it off, Matt was recently recognized by the school's Commission on Multi-Cultural Understanding as an outstanding undergrad in promoting Diversity on campus.

Matt is currently working to get constituent messages - postcards, emails, calls and, most importantly, hand-written letters - to Indiana's Senators so that when it is time for them to vote on the Matthew Shepard Act, they do the right thing and vote "yea". Matt set up an interview with BloomingOUT and a meeting at IU where we'll hopefully harvest more hand-written messages in support of the bill to deliver to Senators Bayh and Lugar. And, focusing his efforts in Indianapolis is another locally-grown Hoosier, HRC Regional Field Organizer Ryan Robison. A graduate of IU and born and raised in Indianapolis, Ryan has been in the city for just three weeks and has already collected over 400 signed postcards and 50 hand-written letters. And he isn't done yet!

I heart hometown heroes!

And that's where you come in, gentle reader!

Have you written to your Senators yet to encourage them to support the Matthew Shepard Act?

It's Pride month and I know that for many of us that means having a good time in the sun with friends at a festival, picnic or parade. But celebrating Pride can and should be more than just an excuse to have fun and party with friends. That's why I think this year's Indy Pride is spot on with the theme, "The Power of Pride." There will always be those each year who claim to be "so over" being proud. But for every person who goes to a Pride parade or festival just to party, there is another who goes because it is the only time of the year that they can feel truly welcome and accepted and safe being who they are. These are powerful feelings that GLBT folk deserve to feel every day of the year. Passing the Matthew Shepard Act will be a powerful message that America not only acknowledges that GLBT people exist but that it matters if we are singled out for hate violence. Still, your Senators need to hear from you today or it won't pass - and you can be sure that those on the other side who want us to remain invisible in this country are contacting them too.

The Indiana GLBT community has so many good things to celebrate this year - not least being the defeat of the anti-marriage amendment - that I hope you'll bear with me if my Cheshire cat grin gives away the honor I feel to be a grand marshal in the Indianapolis parade. After all, with the battles that lie ahead, we can't ever take it for granted that Pride is really all about celebrating our community, acknowledging our progress and supporting our amazing diversity. Sometimes it's about realizing our power and using it.


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Welcome back to our neck of the woods, Candace. We'll have to go get coffee while you're in town for Pride.

Welcome back girl!

Whooo! Great to have you aboard, Candace!

Also, Lori just delivered our 5000th comment!