By Legislator Nancy Low-Hogan (D-South Nyack)
Every year at this time, we come together to celebrate and commemorate. We celebrate our collective Pride – regardless of our personal orientation – of the incredible diversity of our community and our country. We also commemorate the sacrifices made by those who came before us and, to our fortune, those who are still with us. Oh, how far we have come.
We commemorate the lives lost in the struggle for the LGBT community over many decades. Lives lost in hate, like Matthew Shepard; lives lost in politics, like Harvey Milk; and countless other lives taken by those who stood in the way of progress and the freedom to live as one wants in the freest country in the world.
Just hours before our celebration of Pride was to take place in Nyack, that freedom and safety which was won through political battles and pools of blood, was under attack once again in the deadliest shooting in American history. And so, on Sunday, we celebrated with a heavy heart, and commemorated 49 more lives lost to hatred that continues to churn our stomachs and char our souls.
It is a testament to the persistence and strength of the LGBT community that we carried on with Pride. After all, on Sunday, more than any other day perhaps in our entire lives, it was needed.
It was needed to remind everyone that no matter the senseless violence that attacks this community, we stand together. It was needed to remind us that no matter the hate we face to make our nation a more equal one, we stand together. It was needed to remind us that no matter the disappointment that we must endure, we stand together. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Straight – we all stand together.