HRC joins the Juneteenth Celebration in Elizabeth City, North Carolina
June 22, 2011
This past Saturday HRC and Equality North Carolina attended the Juneteenth Festival in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The Juneteenth Festival is a celebration of the emancipation of slaves in the United States. Commemorating African American heritage, the idea behind the Juneteenth Festival is about respect toward all people while working for freedom and equality for all humanity.
In a historically neglected region of North Carolina, attendees at the Juneteenth Celebration were not very familiar with LGBT issues. We came with a message of working towards full equal rights for all-- including the LGBT community in North Carolina. We talked about how important it is to prevent the anti-gay marriage bills from being placed on the ballot as a constitutional amendment. What really resonated with the crowd was the concept that the legislature was sent to Raleigh to tackle jobs, the economy, and the state budget, not to advance a divisive social agenda. The energy from the festival was flowing, and the participants were quick to sign our Equality in Action postcards, which we will then hand in to their legislators, in opposition to the amendments.
The event was very well attended and included a diverse crowd. There were various perspectives on the issue, some with strong opinions for the amendment while others believed in equal rights for all – regardless of their opinion on same-sex marriage. Some people we talked to at the festival would say that they had gay friends or family members. They also said that all people should be viewed as equal and love should never be banned. At the main stage President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was recited, a tradition to remind people of why they came to celebrate.
We came away with over 60 postcards signed and what could possibly be the beginning of a beautiful relationship with Elizabeth City.
Our next stop is the Outer Banks Pride festival on June 25th!
If you would like to volunteer in the North Eastern Region of North Carolina please contact Jess at Jessica.Osborn@hrc.org.