Our community lost a beautiful human being a few days ago. Well known for his work with the Richmond Men's Chorus, the loss of Frank Marino has left a huge void in the lives of many. His voice was that of a baritone angel, only to be complemented by his talent for costume design and choreography. Everybody loved Frank.
It was Frank's wish that his memorial service take place at Diversity Richmond. The day included stories, tears, beautiful music and lots of laughter. Everybody had a Frank story.
As I heard folks talk about Frank, and as I listened to his fellow chorus members sing, it struck me once again what a virtuous community we have. Many of the chorus members are "seasoned men" who have lived through years of lawful discrimination against LGBT people. Like Frank, many of them have their own stories of struggle, of pain, yet there they were ... celebrating life. Celebrating community.
It occurred to me that a lot more goes on with that choir than simply making beautiful music. As I watched them, I felt so proud. No better example of our community's goodness can be found than those men. They, to a large extent, were Frank's family. And he was theirs.
Our community is a resilient one. We have faced injustice and ridicule with dignity and grace. We have led by example. While much of society takes an abundance for granted, we strive to gain basic rights - and we do so with fortitude and determination. Much of the world could learn from us.