Dear Pride Network Family
My name is Steven Gordon. I am the Executive Director of The Pride Network. To briefly tell you a little bit about myself, I am a 36 year-old gay man who grew up in a small town in central New Jersey. Growing up, my dream was to move to New York City and make a living helping people. That dream came true. For the last 18 years, I have lived in New York City and made a career of working with non-profits that serve homeless individuals, people living with HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ youth. Interacting with youth regularly, as I have for most of my career, you cannot help but to look back at your own adolescence and see how far society has progressed. I grew up in the age of Matthew Shepard, Columbine, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and Rodney King. I remember growing up a half African-American half Mexican boy feeling like I had no guidance when it came to my queerness. You hope things are better for generation that follows you.
Fast forward 20 years, I am not sure I can say we have truly progressed. Reported hate crimes have gone up in the last year, especially for transgender women of color. There have been 25 fatal school shootings since Columbine happened in 1999. While we have marriage equality, LGBTQ person's civil rights are being threatened by our current US Justice Department. Persons of color, especially Black men, are victims of police brutality exponentially more than Caucasian-Americans.
What remains the same in our divided country is the resilience and persistence of youth. Every major movement in America, from civil rights to Act-Up to Black Lives Matter to the current gun control debate, has been lead by the power of youth.
The mission of The Pride Network is empower and guide the next generation of LGBTQ leadership. Just because this generation is leading major social justice fights, does not mean they do not need the wisdom of LGBTQ people that came before them. I ask you to think back to your younger selves. How much easier and reassuring it might have been for you to know there was a safe, community of LGBTQ people who were there to provide support and offer direction. This is what The Pride Network strives to do. We cannot do it without your support. Please consider donating; your younger self would want you to.