What Pride Month Means to Our Team
By Joe Solmonese, Chief Executive Officer of the 2020 Democratic National Convention Committee
This June, our team at the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) joins millions of Americans in recognition and celebration of Pride Month. Pride is an important time of year to honor the progress the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) communities have made, while recognizing the work that remains in front of us to achieve full equality.
My name is Joe Solmonese, and I am the CEO of the 2020 Democratic National Convention. This summer, we are excited to host a convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that will unite the Democratic Party around our shared values and launch Joe Biden to victory in November.
Here at the DNCC, we are committed to building an inclusive and diverse convention, which will highlight leaders in the LGBTQ+ community.
As the former CEO of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), my favorite time of year was during Pride Month when we engaged LGBTQ communities across the country in celebration of the progress we’ve made. Although Pride will look very different this year, I want to celebrate the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community to our country and recognize what this month means to our DNCC staff.
“Pride is a time when people who have struggled with accepting their identity are validated by a loving community working to be as inclusive as possible. I use my relative privilege to be visible and represent for those who are unable to at this time.”
— Sean Marlow, Senior Help Desk Technician
It’s important to acknowledge its history and the people who made our celebrations possible—the LGBTQ+ people of color that sit at the intersection of marginalized identities and, face further violence, discrimination, and systematic oppression in comparison to their white counterparts.
“For me, Pride Month is about appreciating yourself and those who are a part of the amazing LGBTQ community. It also means that I should reflect on those like Marsha P. Johnson who risked their freedom so I could have mine.”
— Kennedy Kastle, Staff Assistant to the Senior Director of Operations
We recognize it was their sacrifices that paved the way for Pride as we know it. This year, I’m reminded of the risk Marsha P. Johnson—a transgender woman of color—took in 1969 at Stonewall, a movement whose anniversary marked the first Pride marches in 1970.
LGBTQ+ people of color paved the way for the progress we have today, but they still encounter more violence, discrimination, and isolation than the rest of the LGBTQ+ community. This is especially true for transgender women of color who experience alarming rates of homicide. While we have achieved progress in the fight for equality, we still have work to do to ensure everyone in the LGBTQ+ community feels safe, valued, and welcome.
“The legacy of our party is expanding civil rights and inclusion, bringing more people to full citizenship. It’s important for Democrats to stay engaged with Pride and the LGBTQ+ community, as we learn about the lives of more people we discover new barriers to inclusion that need to be broken. Inclusion is our highest value.
— Ted Jackson, Director of Accessibility & Disability Engagement
Just this week, we witnessed a landmark decision from the U.S. Supreme Court that protects gay, lesbian, and transgender people from employment discrimination. This is a historic victory for the LGBTQ+ community and our country, affirming that everyone deserves equal rights under the law.
“I am celebrating Pride this year by listening to, learning from, and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. I am pregnant with my first child right now and I have no idea who my baby will grow up to be or who they will grow up to love, but I dream of a world where these factors will not influence my baby’s quality of life, nor that of anyone else’s baby. No one is equal until we are all equal.”
— Ariel Botbol, Digital Assistant
This August, we are proud to nominate Joe Biden as the next President of the United States right here in Milwaukee. We are fortunate to have many LGBTQ+ leaders in Wisconsin, including Senator Tammy Baldwin, the first openly LGBTQ+ person elected to the U.S. Senate, and Representative Mark Pocan, Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, who continue to fight for equality across the country.
To me, Pride is a time to celebrate what makes us unique and reaffirm our core value that everyone in this country deserves to be accepted as they are.
As we work toward the convention in August, the Democratic National Convention Committee is proud to stand with the LGBTQ+ community, and reaffirm that everyone in this country deserves to love freely and identify however they please.