Thank you, Alderman Smedley — Members of the Common Council: Tonight you will be taking up & voting on Resolution №5: the 2nd annual Pride Resolution for the City of New Britain. The resolution tonight will not only officially recognizes June as “Pride Month” in the City, but it will also speak to the impetus of Pride with regard the Stonewall Riots & honors their legacy going back fifty years this month.
I want to take a brief moment and outline the origins of the LGBTQ movement here in America and why claims regarding pride events being about sexuality are not explicitly about that. Pride is about a hell of a lot more than an individual’s sexuality. Pride is about standing up for one’s self in times of difficulty.
Most members of the community, accept that the modern LGBTQ movement started on June 28, 1969, with the Stonewall Riots. The Stonewall Riots were a series of spontaneous demonstrations against a police raid that began on that day and continued for several nights after.
The struggle of our community is not one of “shoving ones sexuality” in people’s faces, but one of survival, and organizing. Standing up for ourselves in times of persecution and being open and honest with one another — That is our history — Standing up for each other. — That is our legacy.
As I speak about history, I also want to take this opportunity to provide to you the “State of Pride” for our City. Since I was before you one year ago, we have taken many positive steps forward not only for the LGBTQ Community but for our municipality as a whole.
As many of you might be aware of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group. This group provides each major city a Municipality Equality Index (MEI) Score. Over the last several years our score has steadily increased from 75 to 83, and hopefully, in 2019, we will continue this score to increase. Working alongside the Human Rights and Opportunity Officer Mr. Hargraves and the Human Rights and Opportunities Commission we plan to continue to be a collobartive partner in aiming to increase our MEI.
Under the leadership of former Chief of Police Wardwell and continuing under Chief Chute we have been able to have an LGBTQ Liaison in Officer Bluddon, and NBP will continue to work with our Police and Fire departments on projects and initiatives that will impact the municipality.
We have also been able to come into contact with institutions of education — Central Connecticut State Univesity, with the LGBT Center, and its director Dr. William Mann, and CCSU President Zulma Torro to aim to strengthen City/University Relations and the School district with Superintendent Nancy Sarra, specifically NBHS. We are committed to working collaboratively with these institutions to develop events and curriculum that honor and recognize the LGBTQ community.
This past legislative session also provides some opportunity for our organization and city to get map statewide. We stood in favor of establishing an LGBTQ Human Services Network, we successfully testified in favor of outlawing the “gay panic” defense, and supported the expansion of access to PrEP.
The most recent event, with the support of the Mayor — we raised the gay pride flag for the first time in our city’s history earlier this week. — Special thank you to Alderman Smedley and Alderman Salerno for coming to the event. This flag raising is a statement that our city is accepting of all.
Finally, tonight I want to announce, an aspect, of our future — a new initiative entitled, “Faith + Pride.” Our city has a deep and rich history with the faith-based community, and we want to get a dialogue going. In the coming months, New Britain Pride will be reaching out to members of our faith-based community to start this conversation. I am under no illusions, that this will be an easy task — it won’t be by any stretch, but let’s be honest — It is time that a discussion like this takes place. It is my hope that we find out that we have more in common than not and that leaves each round of discussion a little more at peace in-within and have a greater understanding and respect for each other.
In closing, with tonight’s resolution, you will reaffirm the City’s commitment to the LGBTQ Community and will continue fostering a sense of support. You’ll be showing to the entire city that we understand the history of the LGBTQ movement, and you’ll be endorsing the vision and unofficial motto of our city — Love Wins!
Thank you, Alders, for spending the time to take up this resolution.
Remarks prepared to be given to the New Britain Common Council on June 12, 2019.