Bil Browning

Reflections from Black Pride

Filed By Bil Browning | August 06, 2005 9:28 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement

All great things come from humble beginnings. I'm very confident that Indiana Black Pride will be no different. Today's festival in Watkin's Park may have started out small, but by the end they'd drawn a good crowd. It was great to see the supportive politicians who came out in the heat too - Congresswoman Julia Carson (D), State representative David Orentlicher (D), and city-county councilors Jackie Nytes (D), Steve Talley (D), and Scott Keller (R). As you might remember, Mr. Talley voted against Prop #68, the proposed changes to the city's human rights ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity. When I specifically asked him about his vote, Mr. Talley said he was considering changing his vote and that he was at the festival to start educating himself. Of course, I didn't let him get away without promising to meet with myself and a few other IE Region 8 folks...

We had plenty of help in staffing the Region 8 booth from the team. Walter and the other fine folks got several signatures for their letter campaign, as well as several signatures on the HRO petition we had. We raffled off three gift packages and got some much needed funds for the region. David from HRC and Michael from IYG also helped out at the booth and the guys from Indy Pride provided comic relief.

It was also nice to meet a few fans. (You know who you are!) I suppose it's somewhat flattering to know that someone thought I was a 60 year old man from my writings and activism. (I'm 32.) And it was cool to see that people were finding us through Google and other search engines. I'm sure Jeff Newman and Tracy Elliot will get big heads when they find out how popular they are... *grins* Now if I could only get our readers to start leaving comments on posts!

All around it was a very positive experience. Robert Ferguson and the board of Indiana Black Pride have done a stupendous job of creating something out of nothing. We already have Black Expo and regular Pride. And while Pride doesn't specifically exclude people of color like Black Expo excludes gays and lesbians, the vast majority of attendees are white people. Seeing so many of our black brothers and sisters (and realizing how many more are still closeted!) was very empowering and affirming. I hope they have it again next year. I'd go back.

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AUTHOR: Michael M.

DATE: 8/08/2005 09:35:08 AM

Thanks for allowing me to work the IE booth on Saturday. After a stressful week, it was just what I needed to get outside myself for a bit; I was very encouraged by the interest shown by passers-by. Thank you Bil and Walter for working the crowd; I know it made a difference.