rainbow candle

Yesterday was July 4th, the official day of celebrating our nation. Last year at this time we were still joyfully reeling because of the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. This year we find ourselves mourning the deaths of 49 of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters who were killed in the Orlando massacre. The vast majority were people of color who were celebrating "Latin Night" at the club.

Life is a mixed bag. So is our country. Violence has become so commonplace that we are sometimes numb to the news.

Through the horrors, we cannot forget the good. We have a president who fully supports us and has taken political risks to ensure our rights. In Virginia, we have a governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general who have proven they are our allies. Locally we have senior law enforcement who is working with LGBT organizations to better understand our issues and who have demonstrated their commitment.

This does not mean that there is still not work to do. Dialogue needs to occur within our own communities to ensure that we too are working to ensure that justice prevails. It is very easy to complain. Anyone can do that. Being involved is what brings about change.

In this newsletter, you will find a story about Petty Officer First Class Zachary Corallo who recently addressed other military personnel about serving in the military as an openly gay man. Just one more example of how far we have come.

Meeting people "where they are" and having adult conversations where everyone not only talks, but listens, is key in building community. We have been doing that for years and if we want to maintain our progress, we must continue to educate society, our own community members included.

Diversity Richmond is committed to building an even stronger LGBT community. I invite you to join us.

Bill Harrison

If you would like to help us continue our good work, please mail a check to 1407 Sherwood Avenue, Richmond, Va. 23220, or donate online. We can't do any of this without your support.