; charset=UTF-8" /> 5th Annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast : Connecting Voices
Free hacker tools

5th Annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast

by Sally Buffington, University City UCC

Harvey Milk breakfastTen of us seated at a table — one table out of a hundred and twenty – and we were there to show that our church’s table, its outreach and spiritual hospitality, is open and welcoming to all.
We are members of the Open and Affirming Committee of University City United Church (UCUC) who attended the 5th Annual Harvey Milk Day Diversity Breakfast in San Diego on May 23rd. Held at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel, the event drew twelve hundred people from the San Diego community. UCUC was the only church to be an Equality sponsor. In this, we joined banks, business and health institutions, local and regional authorities, unions, LGBT organizations, and local charitable and educational centers.

Sponsored by the San Diego Human Relations Commission and the San Diego LGBT Community Center, the breakfast celebrates the memory and legacy of San Francisco gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk. Speaker after speaker laid emphasis not only on gay rights, but on the rights of all people, civil rights for every diverse group in the US and world.

Several awards were presented, including the Youth Essay Award to Iman Usman, a local high school student who wrote eloquently about her experiences. She is Pakistani/Indian, Muslim and lesbian. We heard Iman speak of the related groups she’s joined and how she fits into each one, but ultimately – and memorably – she has made the decision that “it doesn’t matter who is what.” She is a person. “If we build coalitions, we can have not just a gay community, but a human community.” To read Iman’s entire essay, http://www.gay-sd.com/2013-harvey-milk-youth-essay/

Another speaker was former Oregon governor Barbara Roberts, a strong leader who’s taken many stands for civil liberties; she was followed by Dustin Lance Black, a screenwriter and Academy Award winner for his script for the film Milk.

UCUC has proudly been an Open and Affirming church for three years now, and Open and Affirming is solidly in our bylaws as a standing committee. Ever since the church adopted its Open and Affirming statement, we’ve been looking for ways to extend our extravagant welcome. We’re about to march in Pride Parade for the third time and this was our second year of attending the Harvey Milk Breakfast. As before, one of our attendees was youth member Julia Kapsis, who also reported on her experience in worship the following Sunday. In addition to these public events, framed copies of our Open and Affirming statement hang on the walls of not only our narthex, but also rooms where community groups meet. Many of us wear name tags that feature rainbow printed ribbon.  In addition to acting in the spirit of Christian witness, we also hope to attract new members  — and to serve the LGBT community.

All of us came back from the breakfast inspired, both by these individuals and the strong sense of many people working together in the spirit of “That they may all be one.” The Spirit is at work here! Yet so much more remains to be done. UCUC wants everyone to know that our doors are open. Together, remembering the words of UCC pioneer John Robinson, we can hear and share even more “wisdom about to break forth.” God is still speaking!

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free