Written by Cailin MacKenzie, Volunteer
Photographed by Pallavi Shoroff, Northwest Photographer
Last year, Seattle Pride soared on momentum from the federal legalization of same-sex marriage. Just ten years before, same-sex marriage was only legal in Massachusetts, and 37 states had a legal ban in place. Prior to the Supreme Court ruling on June 26, 2015, 37 states had already legalized same-sex marriage with only 13 states still banning it. This incredibly rapid policy turnaround is a testament to the power of people standing together in hope to change minds and celebrate love. The movement’s victory vitalized Pride 2015 into a jubilant festival acclaiming the differences that make our human family vibrant and whole.
In contrast, this year’s celebration was darkened by the loss of 50 members of this human family in Orlando. This attack targeting LGBT people of color left a somber and poignant undercurrent to Pride 2016. The traditionally rousing performances were punctuated with spoken poetry and tender songs offering remembrance and renewed commitment to human rights. Given the bomb threat at Los Angeles Pride, the attendance of thousands of Washingtonians at Seattle Pride, bolstered by the incredible support of the Seattle Police Department, demonstrated the solidarity, resilience, and hope that are possible when we unite on common ground: love.
Nature unites us the same way that love does, and requires the same solidarity, resilience and hope in its advocates. The environmental movement can learn from the LGBT movement and stay grounded in the concrete actions that provide solid hope for a healthy future. Environmental problems are inherently human problems, and their solutions require working together in hope.
At Pride 2016, The Nature Conservancy connected with hundreds of diverse people that were passionate about protecting our threatened lands and waters. People showed active interest in upcoming volunteer opportunities and the Conservancy’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in its employment and partnership. Uniting these diverse stakeholders in hope will help us reaffirm our common ground and re-learn how to live with nature.