NYC Pride Week: Celebrating Life, Love and Civil Liberties

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BE PROUD: IT’S MORE THAN JUST A STATEMENT

The U.S. Supreme Court decides on two landmark LGBT rights cases this week, while gay marriage in New York marks its second anniversary in July. But, I’m disturbed by increasing reports of homophobia, sexual assault and deadly anti-gay attacks occurring in the city I call home and around the world. Recently, Nigeria passed a law criminalizing gay marriage and any public expression of affection between same-sex couples. It also outlaws any group publicly supporting gay rights.

The It Gets Better Project shares an uplifting video made a few months ago by a Wisconsin couple on their wedding day. I’m pleased to bring their message to you in the first installment of my ‘Be Proud’ blog series for NYC Pride Week. Also, look out for Tania Fuentez Media in today’s special Gay Wedding Planner section in amNY, a “first of its kind for a daily paper.”

STONEWALL AND BEYOND

In 1969, a galvanizing turn of events happened at Stonewall Inn, and that outcry against police brutality, harassment and intolerance sparked a movement. Eleven years ago, President Clinton proclaimed June as Pride month across the nation. This year, thousands will join the 44th annual NYC LGBT Pride March on June 30, spreading messages of love, courage, hope and empowerment. Edith Windsor, longtime civil rights advocate Harry Belafonte and Center for Black Equity’s President/CEO Earl Fowlkes are grand marshals.
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Windsor, an inspiring 84-year-old, is challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) after paying more than $360,000 in federal estate taxes upon the death of her partner of 40-plus years. Belafonte has been a voice for universal equality on a global scale for decades, and Fowlkes continues to fight for health, social and economic equity in the Black LGBT community. “We believe this year will be historic,” says Chris Frederick, NYC Pride’s managing director. “LGBT rights are expanding across the country and these individuals embody the soul of a movement far from over.”
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