Your Ad Here

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hundreds march in Napa on eve of Supreme Court hearing

Jorgen Gulliksen / Register | Buy photos

The Napa Register called us 80-100, the organizer (and I) think that, by the end of the night, it was closer to 150 or even 200. We gathered at the United Methodist Church and after some fun sign-making and sharing snacks and stories, we read our proclamation and then marched downtown, back around Main Street and then up and back to the Church. We picked up more than a few supporters on the way, and didn't come across any vocal hostility that I noticed. Similar marches were held in dozens of locations around the State, with an especially large gathering in San Francisco. The streets weren't crowded with cars, but it was our statement and unity that was important:

We deserve equality NOW...and we won't stop these gatherings, this fight until we get it. If not tomorrow, if not in the next 90 days, then someday.

What I didn't expect last night was my own conflicted feelings. Renee, the organizer, asked me to lead us through the streets (she's from Yountville and wanted me to choose the route through downtown) and so I proudly did. Ironically, as we sang "We are not afraid..." (to the classic Civil Rights tune of "We shall overcome"), I did feel afraid.

The Napa Register's camera lens made me more apprehensive and called to mind the few of my family members and people from the past that I have yet to come out to--bringing up those old time fears of judgment, rejection, misunderstanding. I knew I had a group of hundreds of caring people behind me, but I couldn't control what would happen if I were to come out on the front page of the paper, leading the group. I remembered my fear from one of the Prop 8 rallies, when confronted by someone from church, and his words, "What would your grandmother and family think?" and threat, "They would be very disappointed" and yet I knew I had to be where I was.

Last night, my sign was carefully--if not hurriedly--crafted, and said, "Jesus taught love." As a Catholic, as a gay man, as a Napan. I know that I need to be in the mix making sure that I am speaking my voice of faith and my voice of dignity in spite of my fear. WWJD, right?

Share your experience of the rally in the comments, feel free to link to or email me photos.

No comments:

Post a Comment