First Person: Making Our Voices Heard in New York City
The scene: Thousands of people making their voices heard about the passage of Proposition 8 outside a Mormon Temple in Manhattan. As I approached the crowd, video camera in tow, I could already hear the various chants and cheers from people waving their homemade signs - at least 10,000, according to reports from organizers picked up by the AP.
After an hour outside the temple, we marched down along Broadway. Although police lined the crowd, the peaceful nature of the event left the officers to maintaining traffic flow and keeping the marchers moving. We finally stopped at Columbus Circle, where participants waved their signs and cheered under the bright lights of the Time Warner Center.
Our community suffered considerable setbacks last week. As a California expat living in New York City, I cringed as the "yes" votes came in for Proposition 8 on Election Day. I hoped against hope the next few days and lamented when it was officially announced the initiative had passed. Many friends back home shared the same sentiment: "I can't believe this happened. It feels like a personal attack on my life, my family." And this wasn't exclusive just to my homestate. I heard the same from friends in Arizona, Arkansas and Florida.
But this wasn't a time for anger or blame. We had to gather together as a community and announce ourselves. And the crowd Wednesday night was nothing less than a community coming together. Thousands of friends and family gathered for a shared purpose. I saw people holding hands, hugging, sharing in this experience that although the passage of these anti-gay amendments was a setback, there was still hope.
And then there was Whoopi. Ms. Goldberg herself joined the march holding a sign that read "For My Friends, Equal Rights." As I talked with her, she told me about sharing in our community's pain, that despite the excitement over Obama's election, we still had a ways to go. "Whenever a door opens, the ceiling comes crashing down." Other celebrities, including lesbian comedian Judy Gold and gay advice columnist Dan Savage, also showed up to give their support.
And the media took notice of the event's impact. News trucks for the local ABC, NBC and CW affiliates parked right by the crowd, with reporters and cameramen scrambling to film the marchers. National news organizations joined in soon afterwards. I was pleasantly surprised when a CNN microphone quickly sidled up next to me while talking with Whoopi. Hopefully the media will continue to cover our stories as we work towards equality.
Stay tuned tomorrow for exclusive video coverage of the event!