Letter from Robert York

Director of Capital Pride and Community Outreach

DEAR FRIENDS,

On behalf of the Capital Pride committee, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the 29th annual Capital Pride Festival. We hope that celebrating pride in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community is as exciting for you as it is for us!

This year, we mark Capital Pride in one of the most interesting times in the LGBT civil rights era. Did anyone ever think that we would see the struggle and the fight on the front lines? It is an exciting time. But it is also a time where we are witnessing hostility at every level. To have a sitting president declare a war on the Constitution of the United States is frightening and very real.

Capital Pride 2004 is about being involved and making every voice heard and count. “Pride + Vote = Power!” There is no better time in our history to make sure that our family and friends know how important it is to be involved. It is time to step up to the plate and to let our elected officials know that we do have strength in numbers. From the small farm community, to the suburbs and major metropolitan cities we need to make sure that everyone is registered to vote. We should take this time to challenge ourselves, our neighbors to fully participate in the election and cast votes for change.

The war on GLBT America is not going away and we must stand united and proud together as a community and keep marching for equality. Gay pride celebrations in America from coast to coast will be more important than ever. Retreating in any way, shape or form is not an option. The chance to gather, to celebrate, to engage, to activate and to motivate is the power that we have and the power that we must use to continue the fight for equality.

Yes, the marriage issue is a hot one for the current political and social climate. Is there any reason why GLBT America should not have the same rights as anyone else? Not according to the Constitution of the United States of America and that is why we must vote to protect and defend the Constitution as we know it. Changing it to discriminate and take away rights of any American would be unjust.

Many of us have friends and family who are fighting daily for our freedom. Please remember and support the many men and women who are defending our country. Hopefully, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will soon be a thing of the past and GLBT soldiers can serve without fear of expulsion, harassment or violence.

What can you do for Pride? Come out and come out proud. You can march with friends in the parade, carry a banner or volunteer with numerous organizations that will educate the public about the voting process. As we live through ground-breaking history, we also have a great opportunity to make history happen. But it can only happen if each of us takes the step forward and the commitment to make change happen.

Pride gives us an opportunity to educate, inspire and motivate our community and the nation at large on so many issues and their importance: marriage, hate crimes, ENDA, adoption, discrimination and health.

We applaud our brothers and sisters who are stepping out daily to make a difference.

Capital Pride is a great opportunity to celebrate achievements, It is a time to set aside differences, to join hands with our brothers and sisters and to walk united like we have never before.

On behalf of the volunteers and Capital Pride presenter Whitman-Walker Clinic, I want to welcome you to Capital Pride. It is an honor for us to be able to present this annual event for the community.

“Pride + Vote = Power!” We look forward to seeing you at Capital Pride and at the voting booth.

IN PRIDE,

Robert York
Director of Capital Pride and Community Outreach

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