Sunday, April 28, 2013

DC Youth Pride 2013


Hey there,

Yesterday was DC Youth Pride, organized by the Youth Pride Alliance.

The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, was just one of many organizations which had a table set up around the Dupont Circle Fountain. In case you didn't know, I sing with GMCW, and you can check out my last post about an event we were invited to be a part of, singing at the Human Right Campaign's Out for Equality event, HRC's inaugural ball this year.

But I digress. I got there right as it was getting started, and got to catch the tail end of Tom Goss' set on the main stage.


Up after him was an adorable band from Baltimore, Basement Instinct. Check out their Facebook page here. As much as I wanted to stay at the stage, I returned to the circle to keep walking around.

HRC had a table set up along with a wheel to engage youth and adults who stopped by.


Here are some of GMCW brothers, sporting our red polos as they manned the table all afternoon.


And guess who stopped by Youth Pride and our table? Ward 4 councilmember, Muriel Bowser. In case you didn't know, she's running for Mayor. Check out this piece in the Washington Post.


Real Talk DC showed up with their van. If you're not familiar with Real Talk DC, they're a subsidiary of Metro Teen Aids, funded by DC's Department of Health.


And as it was Youth Pride, Capital Pride was present.


At the next table was the National Black Justice Coalition.


If you're not familiar with NBJC, here's the blurb from their About section:
The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Got to chat with the two lovely ladies at the table, and looking forward to possibly talking to them more, particularly about their Emerging Leaders program.

The DC government was present, via the One City Action Plan (OCAP).


The OCAP has three goals, grow and diversify the District economy, educate and prepare the workforce for the new economy, and improve the quality of life for all.

SMYAL was also present, obviously. It stands for Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League, of which I am an alumn.


It provided a much needed safe space and community for me (where I also met my first boyfriend), the summer before my junior year of high school.

Casa Ruby, had a table. For those just getting to know Casa Ruby:
Casa Ruby is the first community, social and resources center run by LGBT queer Latinos in Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia and Delaware.

And, small world, GMCW's last GenOUT visit was at Georgetown Day School, as part of their annual pride week activities. And when we asked the students what some of their favorite moments were, one mentioned the speaker they had just that day, an amazing transgender woman, Casa Ruby's founder and director, Ruby Corado.

In addition to the performance stage and the tables ringing the fountain, people had the chance to customize their own t-shirts. Check out my raver sister from another mister, Jen, working on hers.


And this is where I ran into one of my favorite people, Aram Vartian, who is the multimedia producer for Metro Weekly, doin' what he does best: capturing moments and telling our stories.


And just to show that half of life is simply showing up and being present, I had been walking around with current chorus president, Marcus Brown, also ex officio member of GMCW's Board of Directors so Aram took the opportunity to get Marcus' thoughts and feelings regarding youth pride and representing the chorus there.

So I captured the set up, and keep an eye out in the comments when Aram finalizes the piece.


So just some other highlights of organizations present. Here were a couple of folks with the Trevor Project who let me capture their smiling faces.

The Trevor Project was founded in 1998 by James Lecesne, Peggy Rajski and Randy Stone, the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR. Set in 1981, TREVOR is a timeless coming-of-age story about love, loss, and learning to be yourself.
Definitely recommend checking out their website for the rest of the organization's history, and more.

Speaking of checking out, I love that the ultimate place to check out books was present and presented themselves as a resource for LGBT youth, DC Public Library.


The DC Center, another great resource, was also there.


The Mayor's Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Affairs had a table, almost on the opposite side of the circle from One City.


DC Public Schools and the Youth Advisory Committee also participated in today's event.


And SMYAL had a couple neat engagement pieces set up. One was a photo booth, which you got to write a message to hold in the picture with you.


And the other was a board asking "who is your hero?"


Overall just an awesome day, with some beautifully perfect weather. And if you're on Facebook and you'd like to like Youth Pride Alliance's page, make sure to do so.

 It's also one of those things where when I think back to my own youth, and the world as I knew it when I graduated from high school in '99...



Whoa...how far things have come. Yes, still plenty of work to do, but sometimes when you get caught up in the day to day, it's hard to really take a step back and reflect. Just glad that I could be part of moving forward as a community through GMCW's GenOUT program.

More than anything, I value it as a chance to really get to know the youth we're visiting with. In fact my goal is to make sure that we listen to them and know more about their world, than they do about us. Because they can check out our website, and come to our concerts, and talk to us after. But that's really one of the few chances and opportunities we have to listen to them. And it speaks to one of our values in the chorus:
We honor the unique backgrounds and experiences of our members
But I digress, I'm looking forward to next year. I'm really excited because I want to see how GMCW can take our own presence to another level with fun and surprise.

But until then, I wanted to share a music video a good friend just shared with me, that was particularly timely and relevant, which I hadn't seen until this wekend, Macklemore's music video for his track, "Same Love".


Where you at DC Youth Pride? How was it for you? What'd you think of the song and video, especially if you've never heard or seen it before. And if you have any photos or videos that are online and public, please share the link(s) in the comments. You can see my album for DC Youth Pride 2013 here on Google+here on Facebook, or here on Flickr.

And, just in case, with Flickr, if you decided to order prints, please consider throwing some change my way. PayPal's good and my email is a.way.of.life.0@gmail.com.

Also, I did not get pics of all the wonderful organizations that were there for Youth Pride. If I did not mention you in this post, please share you organization with a link to your website and any social media in the comments.

With love, yours in song,

JR
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