Monday, June 25, 2012
Back in 2004, I marched in the NYC Pride parade. I was a part of the students and staff of Cornell group, there were about 20 of us at the time. Several them wanted to carry signs to express how they were out and proud. I wanted to do something different.
At the time, the media was all over the whole 'DL' thing. JL King went on Oprah and started a firestorm about Black Gay men being on the down low. After that mess, it felt like there was a target on our backs. So, I thought, "Why not change the message?" The night before the march, my best friend and I decided we would carry signs that said: NO DOWN LOW HERE and PROUD BLACK MAN. We were convinced it was the best thing we could do to send a new message out there.
The next day, we were set and ready to go. We took our signs and headed down the avenue. When we were marching, I remember seeing the faces of the Black men in the crowd. They were cheering and supporting us all the way. I was overflowed with so much emotion that it felt like I was flying. My friend was also on a cloud as well.
What we were doing had a powerful effect. Seeing the Black LGBT fam giving us so much love, truly inspired me. In fact, I think it was in that moment I knew I had to do more for our community.
Marching in that parade, made me realized what Pride was all about. It also made me very aware of the job I had to do.
So, at NYC Pride 2004... I became an activist and it's been one hell of a ride.