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PRIDE Blooms in the Desert

by Susan Jakubowski-Weiner

History is made when history is remembered and, in appropriate manner celebrated.

Recognizing that denying their history is one way – a very effective way – of oppressing a people, the members and friends of Bloom in the Desert Ministries are actively supporting the June LGBT Pride Month activities being sponsored by the Tolerance Education Center in our neighbor community of Rancho Mirage – a first for them.   How exciting – and inspiring – that
the catalyst to recognize June in our valley as LGBT Pride Month came from the mostly straight, primarily Jewish Tolerance Education Center, a group which, in the same spirit,  recognized Black History Month and Women’s History Month with weekly film screenings earlier this year and recently held a special event to screen the documentary, “The Armenian Genocide.”  Local members of The Armenian Assembly of America who attended the event told the Center’s executive director it was the first time anyone outside their Armenian community had recognized their history.

The Center, founded by Holocaust survivors, features educational displays, resources and programs pertaining to the six million Jews and five million others, LGBTs among them, killed by the Nazis.  Particularly meaningful to many is an authenticated pink cloth triangle – the patch used to identify male homosexual prisoners – displayed there, along with three other badges – a yellow Star of David (for the masses of Jews), a blue Star of David (“trusty” Jews), and a purple triangle (Jehovah’s Witnesses). 

The denial of history happens everywhere.  It happens to us LGBTs.  It happens to our ethnic and racial brothers and sisters, straight and LBGT.  I am thankful to the Universal Compassionate Spirit at work in our community crossing boundaries of denial and hurt and applying the salve of tolerance.

We “Bloomers” are proud to join with our Coachella Valley faith and community neighbors to both promote and provide programs for the Center’s special four-day (June 24 – 27, 2010) celebration of “Pride.”   We will be participating in a Thursday evening panel discussion examining the “Roots of Intolerance,” hosting a Friday evening movie/discussion of the feature documentary “The Times of Harvey Milk” and,  in collaboration The Trevor Project, a national teen help-line headquartered in Los Angeles, arranging a Saturday “Lifeguard” workshop on teen suicide.  In addition to time (staff and volunteer), we contributed $100 to partially fund a Pride Sunday afternoon open house featuring a tolerance education “game” experience, entertainment and food – Kosher hot dogs and other picnic treats.

We invite you go join us.

More information can be found here:
http://www.toleranceeducationcenter.org/eventsLGBTPrideMonth.html

Visit Bloom in the Desert’s website:
http://www.bloominthedesert.org/

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