Next Wednesday at Fresno State the Central California Alliance and the Bulldog Pride Fund will host “Celebrating Local Heroes”“ Featuring Robin McGehee (GetEQUAL), Matthew Mazzei (The Rainbow Delegation), and Andrew McIntosh (former NCAA athlete, current Fresno State grad student), the evening promises to be educational and a rallying point for activists and community members.
More though than simply a “preaching to the choir” opportunity, this event will showcase the variety of differences in our community. We can’t forget, we are an eclectic bunch that holds ground on all points of the “activist” spectrum. From grassroots, to streamlined established organizations… From quiet support, to loud demands for equality, our community has it all. Next week’s celebration is a way for us to honor that diversity through some of the people who embody it. We are all headed to the same goal, but celebrating the different ways in which we get there is not only essential to our eventual arrival but also key in helping keep the momentum going by capturing the imagination and creative spark of the entire community.
Let’s meet the heroes!
(photo courtesy of the Rainbow Delegation)
Matthew Mazzei is a violinist for the Fresno Philharmonic who has devoted much of his life in the last eight months to running theThe Rainbow Delegation: a donation supported grassroots campaign that supplies free bracelets of LGBT support to anyone who asks. These multi colored bracelets are an easy way for people in the community to show their support for the LGBT community and be recognized by other community members as an ally. So far, Matt and his volunteers have sent over 50,000 bracelets to 56 countries.
Matt spends 8 or more hours a day processing the never-ending requests. He and his volunteers work hard to keep the campaign “as personal as possible” by hand writing every mailing address and responding to every email. His tireless efforts have made it possible for thousands of people all over the world to show their support for the LGBT community.
(The Rainbow Delegation is this month’s Spotlight Organization, look for the full article soon.)
(photo courtesy of The Advocate)
Robin McGehee is the director and co-founder of GetEQUAL, which works to empower the LGBT community in order to demand full legal and social equality. Not satisfied with piecemeal legislation, the folks at GetEQUAL are boldly demanding full federal equality. Their focus has shifted to non-traditional means of activism. It isn’t enough to change the hearts and minds of the general public… it is people in positions of power, from the homophobic pastor to the lazy Democratic congressman, that need to have the fight taken to them.
Through iconic imagery, public protests, online petitions, use of social networking, and coordinated strategic distributed actions GetEQUAL is on the forefront of activism for the LGBT community, and Robin is one of their more recognizable leaders. Though she doesn’t consider herself any more a hero than the countless volunteers who help organize and work events such as this June’s upcoming Pride festivities, Robin garnered national attention as one of The Advocate’s 2010 People of the Year.
(GetEQUAL is part of tomorrow’s “What’s your beef with LGBT rights?”protest at CHICK-FIL-A.)
(photo courtesy of the New York Times)
Andrew McIntosh is relatively new to Fresno. A transplant from New York and a former NCAA athlete (lacrosse), Andrew is hesitant to call himself a hero. He notes that there are many ways to be a hero, to be a role model and someone with integrity. He points to public figures like John Lennon who were strong icons of strength and hope.
As a gay athlete, he can sympathize with youth still in the closet who are afraid of what coming out will mean for them. Like many, Andrew was worried about rejection from his current circle of friends and also how he would fit in to the gay community. Currently a grad student at Fresno State studying Counseling for Higher Education, Andrew sees his role as a community leader, although he would be hesitant to call himself such, to use his story to empower and motivate others. He is active with GSA groups and several on-campus groups all over Fresno.
Join Matt, Robin, and Andrew on Wed. May 11th at the Smittcamp Alumni House on the Fresno State campus. The evening’s activities begin at 5:30 PM with a reception, which will be followed by the presentation of heroes and then a question answer period.
$5 Student / $10 CCA Members / $15 Non CCA Members
Event Day Tickets:
$10 Students / $15 CCA Members / $20 Non CCA Members
You can also purchase tickets online at either: www.ccafresno.org OR www.bulldogpride.org
Tickets also available at the Fresno LGBT Community Center at 1055 N Van Ness, Suite C during normal business hours.