Roanoke Pride with an Inspiring Gay Youth & A Hometown Hero
September 19, 2012 by HRC staff
The following post is from Limor Finkel, Executive & Board Relations Assistant, and Hyacinth Alvaran, Diversity Program Associate:
With the support of a dozen enthusiastic volunteers and 2 staff members, HRC recruited nearly 500 members and supporters at Roanoke Pride this past weekend! Many of the 5,000 estimated attendees stopped by HRC’s booth to talk about issues important to the LGBT community and how HRC is working to address these issues.
Around mid-morning, the HRC booth was visited by Jordan Addison, a gay, local college student whose car was vandalized with homophobic slurs last March, and Richard Henegar Jr., the owner of Quality Auto Paint and Body in Roanoke. Addison, already in debt for his college loans, could not afford the repairs needed to fix his car, and drove with the slurs keyed into the doors until this past August. Henegar mobilized local businesses to donate materials, and refurbished Addison’s car free of charge. Henegar told us that “he saw a way to turn a negative situation into a positive one,” and that no one deserved to be singled out negatively for who they are. Henegar and his team put $10,000 worth of repairs into Addison’s car, not only removing the hateful slurs but repairing the years of wear-and-tear on the car. Both were recently featured on the season premiere of the Ellen Show.
Addison’s experience highlights the importance of confronting bullying. Through the Welcoming Schools program, HRC starts to address bullying in the elementary-school level by providing teachers, administrators, and parents with the tools to teach students about family diversity, about avoiding gender-stereotyping, and about ending bullying and name-calling. On the college level, HRC’s Youth & Campus Outreach programs facilitate connections for LGBT student activists across the country, and empower youth to fight for LGBT equality on their campuses.
It was an inspiration to meet both Addison and Henegar, and bear witness to the strong support from their community and from people all over the country. Though this was Henegar’s first Pride event, he told us that “there’s a first time for everything… Roanoke Pride really opened my eyes. I’m going to go every year!” Before leaving the booth, he was inked with an HRC temporary tattoo—because equality looks great on everyone!
Many thanks to our volunteers, members, and supporters in Roanoke and to the Roanoke Pride committee for such an amazing and empowering weekend! And many thanks to Jordan Addison and Richard Henegar Jr. for serving as an inspiration to all of us! To volunteer at a pride event near you visit HRC’s pride site!
Issues: Youth & Campus
May 21, 2013
May 16, 2013
May 9, 2013