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Watch the video of the entire LGBTQ program held June 15, 2015 at the Department of Energy. | Video courtesy of the Energy Department.
Tre Easton, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary in the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, gave opening remarks at the Departments 2015 LGBTQ ceremony. Read them below or watch the video of the entire ceremony above.
What a fantastic occasion we gather ourselves here to celebrate -- and what a phenomenal circumstance that we are here and able to celebrate openly. This month has tremendous significance for the LGBTQ community.
From an historic perspective, this is the same month that marks the 46th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City that galvanized the modern LGBTQ movement for equality. In a more contemporary sense, we expect this month will be cemented in the annals of history as the one where the right to marriage equality was affirmed nationwide -- my native Georgia included.
These watershed and potential watershed moments aside, it must be asserted that it is us up to us to continue to imbue this month with meaning. It isn’t simply enough to gather in auditoriums and affirm ourselves together -- though these things matter. It isn’t enough to simply go to a parade or festival -- though those public displays are crucial. No. There must be added substance in the meaning of Pride.
For me, PRIDE means that we’ll never stop working for a better tomorrow.
PRIDE means not believing that progress is the status quo.
PRIDE means that we’ll be better -- to each other and to ourselves.
PRIDE means that we’ll think and act in love -- and not from fear or malice.
PRIDE means that we won’t forget what was or the promise of what can be.
PRIDE means not having to apologize for who you are and not having to engage in debate over the validity of you being you.
PRIDE means that while we celebrate the triumphs of Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner, we remember that theirs are stories not replicated in much of the country for countless LGBT youth -- simply striving to exist.
PRIDE means knowing that marriage equality is just one bend in the long moral arc to full equality, coexistence and respect under the law. There is still much work to be done across a whole host of spaces.
My fervent hope is that we never let the message of Pride ever be taken for granted. We are not here in this moment by mere happenstance. Let us embrace this moment unabashedly and move forward boldly. Let no task be too difficult. Let no goal be too small.