On December 20th Join the Impact invited this nation’s LGBT community and it’s supporters, to join together for a candle light vigil called Light up the Night for Equality. This vigil was a peaceful gathering held in remembrance of the 18,000+ marriages that took place in California, the Civil rights that Proposition 8 and other initiatives like it around the country have stripped from us, and in honor of those rights that will one day be again. All over the nation the LGBT community joined together to be seen and make an impact. I am proud to say that we here in Fresno WERE able to make an impact and be counted amongst the thousands to stand up for our rights and make a difference.
Throughout the night we gathered together in front of RiverPark’s World Sports Café. With our candles and with our “second class citizen” signs pinned to our shirts we handed out fliers showing five rights that are denied to one in ten citizens of this country. The fliers let people know that in many states we can be fired for being gay, that we can not be the legal guardian to a child parented by us and our spouses, that we can not fight for our country, or sponsor our loved one to become a US Citizen, and that there are over 1,100+ rights, responsibilities, and privileges lost because we can not legally marry the ones we love.
Many members of the community stopped on their way to dinner or a movie to take a flier and ask us what Light up the Night was all about. It was a great joy to see the amount of support we seemed to gather as people stopped to listen to what we had to say. Some were even so moved that they took up a candle of their own and joined us on the sidewalk. Though our numbers were not great and we had no special speakers, the 25-30 people who attended Fresno’s Light up the Night event huddled together proudly holding our candles in the cold with Anthony Deitrich, our local event organizer, to sing “We Shall Overcome” and to let people know that we are not just going to disappear and that one day we WILL be seen as equals.
Photos 1-9 courtesy of Sarah Welch
Photos 10-18 courtesy of David Prasad