I am more the photo on the right than the one on the left–but I understand that there are moments when both are equally necessary. As executive director of Stonewall Columbus there are moments when I must be in front…however, I must admit I am most comfortable working to accomplish things from behind the scenes–alongside those closest to the work.
Since stepping into this role, as interim in the summer of 2020 and officially in January of 2021, I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of work from behind the scenes–thank you COVID-19 and virtual meetings. Now, as the world seems to be opening to some endemic COVID version, I find that I struggle with the new attention the role garners in this “woke” moment in our collective history where queer voices matter and intersectional queer voices are sought out–ironically rewarding.
This Stonewall Columbus Pride season saw a magical thing happen–a very small crew made very big things happen and saw the safe return of now the largest Pride march and festival in the midwest. A small staff of five and a comparably small volunteer leadership crew drove this years Stonewall Columbus Pride events for the organization and the community.
A very small crew made a very big thing happen. I’m thankful for each of their part in something that was done for so many–Pride belongs to the people.
As I have the opportunity to guide the Stonewall Columbus organization I will always strive to be an organization for the most of us—those willing to lean into the work. I believe we have to meet somewhere to move forward somewhere–together.
I am thankful for those who met us somewhere because they understand the importance of the movement–thank you.
When next we gather in community to uplift, recognize, and celebrate our pride I can only hope we’ve moved further along a path to a more inclusive fight that makes space for all of us while uplifting those of us who, from a perspective of equity, are most deserving of uplifting.
I will forever be thankful for this opportunity.
(Photo Credit: Left Emma Parker , official 2022 Stonewall Columbus Pride Photographer / Right K Terry Smith, Founder Olly Awake)