Washington, DC (PRWEB) January 21, 2013
PFLAG National—the nation's largest organization for families, friends and allies of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people – has issued from its Executive Director, Jody Huckaby, the following statement regarding today’s inauguration celebrations:
The inauguration of a new president is a demonstration of our democracy and a celebration of the best of America. This year, that celebration falls on Martin Luther King Day when we commemorate the leadership of a man who believed deeply in democracy and emphasized our individual responsibilities to truly form a more perfect union. Dr. King had a vision of America that included all of its diverse population, and throughout the inauguration day celebrations, that diversity will be on display—including a reading from of an openly gay Latino inaugural poet and the inclusion of a lesbian and gay band—to demonstrate the day’s theme, Faith in America’s Future.
PFLAG National is honored by the use of its iconic image of its founder and her child to demonstrate the unity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, (LGBT) and straight Americans against inequality in the inaugural parade today. That image, chosen for placement on the Civil Rights Movement float, is a photo of PFLAG founder, Jeanne Manford and her gay son, Morty--a leader in the struggle for LGBT equality in his own right-- marching with other LGBT activists forty years ago.
“PFLAG National feels privileged to be recognized in the presidential inauguration day parade to represent one of the historic struggles of civil rights movements in our country,” said Jody Huckaby, Executive Director of PFLAG National. “The image chosen represents the equality movement at its strongest: LGBT Americans walking alongside straight allies, united by love and their collective belief in a better tomorrow. Today we celebrate that legacy and begin the next chapter of inclusion and America’s promise for all of us."
The image captures the moment that Jeanne Manford joined her heroic son in his personal battle for equal rights, carrying a sign that read, “Parents of Gays: Unite in Support For Our Children,” an act that led not only to the creation of PFLAG, the nation’s largest organization for parents, families, friends and allies of LGBT people, but also started a worldwide movement, now millions strong.
Morty Manford was at Stonewall on that fateful night in 1969 when a group of LGBT Americans said “No more” to the harassment and oppression that was common among law enforcement of those who dared to be out and live openly. After that historic uprising, Morty became a well-known activist and one of the early heroes of the movement for LGBT equality. As Morty’s activism increased and he became the target of violence by those who opposed his work for equality, Jeanne joined him in 1972 by speaking up publicly about her pride in his activism and unconditional love for him. She made history as one of the first parents to do so, followed by her creation of the first group for parents to meet with their LGBT loved ones, later to become PFLAG.
Jeanne Manford passed away this month at the age of 92. Tributes to her have called her The Mother of the Straight Ally movement, a voice that changed the world, and the start of a key cultural advance in the fight for equal rights for LGBT people. In a speech he gave in 2009, President Barack Obama called Jeanne’s work “the story of America…of ordinary citizens organizing, agitating, educating for change, of hope stronger than hate, of love more powerful than any insult or injury.”
“The civil rights movement float included a quote from Dr. King that “the Arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice” noted Reverend Gil Caldwell, PFLAG National board member “The civil rights movement float included a quote from Dr. King that “the Arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice” noted Reverend Gil Caldwell, PFLAG National board member and a foot solider in the civil rights movement who marched with Dr. King. “Today we honor the legacy of Dr. King, the courage of the Manfords and thousands before us by committing to work together to bend that arc just a little faster with our conviction in equality and justice for all”
Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the original family and straight ally organization. Made up of parents, families, friends, and straight allies uniting with LGBT people, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality and acceptance through its mission of support, education and advocacy. Now in its 40th year, PFLAG has more than 350 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities and rural areas in all 50 states. To learn more, please visit http://www.pflag.org.