Hudson Valley Gay Mobilization
By Michael Boyajian
I remember just a few years back when Marriage Equality New York decided to expand the battle for same sex marriage out of New York City and into the Hudson Valley and elsewhere around the state. We organized a rally for Riverside Park in Beacon, New York and launched a press blitz to turn out support for the event.
On the day of the event six of us set up our tables, literature and a tent and waited for the crowds to march into the park. Two people showed up and we were left alone in the middle of a completely empty park on a beautiful summer day. Latter one person said you aren't going to change things up here.
Fortunately, the Beacon Sloop Club took us out for a sail on their boat that day and it calmed our nerves and got us thinking. We lifted ourselves off the mat and decided that for now instead of organizing our own events we would set up tables at other organizations' events and that worked out fine for a time.
Now there are those who thought that the movement would have been crushed by the adverse decision by the New York Court of Appeals, the debacle in the New York Senate and events in California. All of this only made same sex marriage advocates stronger raising a groundswell of community support and mobilizing gays out of the pubs and into the streets.
Now on May 28 a huge event is planned by Big Gay Hudson Valley that will mobilize the gay community in the region. The event is the Pride Preview Party and for just $10 per person it will feature an all encompassing celebration at the Locust Grove Historic Site in Poughkeepsie. There will be a DJ and dancing, live performances, picnics, hiking, LGBT resource tables, and food vendors all in the shadow of Samuel Morse's breathtaking Italiante style mansion. Its bring your own and leashed dogs are welcome.
Don't think many people will show up? Well think again, last year they had 500 attendees and that was the event's debut. Many more are expected this year. The party symbolizes the new found exuberance of the movement with battles planned for New York Senate seats and comprehensive outreach to the straight community.
This time there will be no empty park but a massive outpouring for this the greatest civil rights battle of the new millennium that will sweep same sex marriage into the law of the land. Can you say, never say die!
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