Beautiful Music, Great Cause
It was quite a night on Friday, May 10, 2013.
Great energy, great people, great music.
Three churches and two organizations in and around Sterling/Loudoun/Lovettsville invited the Gay Men’s Chorus of D.C. to share their amazing gifts in a benefit concert for POFEV/NoVA—and we all were blessed.
The event was billed as “a night to honor the inherent worth and dignity of all people . . . and music for the sake of joy!” And it lived up to that description.
About 100 people joined the incredibly talented ensemble—and soloists—for great choral music from Broadway, blues and spirituals, inspirational musical poems, and even some light-hearted non-vocal syncopation and a complete song of “nonsense words.”
Hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sterling, the event also was sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun, St. James United Church of Christ (Lovettsville), Equality Loudoun, and Loudoun Out Loud.
Representatives of each of these organizations spoke briefly, discussing the importance of equality and justice and their participation in work promoting it. Rev. Dr. Robin Gorsline, President of POFEV, also spoke about the opportunities that lay ahead of us to bring about true, lasting cultural change to Virginia.
He said, in part, “I believe our mission is more than simply changing the laws, although that must be done. But as we work toward that goal, we must change hearts. We are people of faith, and therefore we know that people are more than their opinions, more than their prejudices, more than their histories. People have the spark of the divine in them, even our most hardened opponents, and part of what we can do, if we do this right, is to help people not only find that spark in themselves but also learn to see it in everyone else. We have a mission alright, and it is nothing less than leading Virginia out of the gloomy past of fear and prejudice and narrowness into the bright future of grace and love and openness and inclusion and a wideness of vision worthy of the beautiful territory with which God has blessed us.”
Oh yes, there was some great good, too!
There is talk about making this an annual event. Watch for news about that, and don’t miss it!
Candidates Tell their Sides of the Story
Virginia is always having an election. Even-numbered years bring federal elections—Congress and the President—and odd-numbered years bring state elections—General Assembly, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General.
Those who established the system knew what they were doing—they do not want Virginia voters being influenced by national trends when they are choosing state officials. This has been so clear over the past several election cycles—Barack Obama carries the state two times, but the Republicans make gains in the state elections.
Will it be true again this year? Will the President’s historic win last year lead to a Republican sweep this November—Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General, and even more Republican Delegates in the General Assembly?
Not if four Democratic men who spoke at a recent Candidates Forum—sponsored by eight “progressive” organizations—at the Gay Community Center of Richmond have anything to say about it.
The four—Aneesh Chopra and Sen. Ralph Northam (pictured on the right, left to right, with Kim Allen, president of the Richmond NAACP) seeking the nomination for Lt. Governor, and Justin Fairfax and Sen. Mark Herring (pictured on the left, left to right, with Kim Allen, president of the Richmond NAACP) seeking the nomination for Attorney General—spoke vigorously and knowledgeably about the issues facing Virginia and what needs to be done. Each spoke at some length about the role they want to play in state government. They are competing for nomination in the June 11 Democratic primary.
It was an inspiring evening, helping those present—right about 100—get a better sense of the possibilities for Virginia’s future.
The candidates’ forum was not limited to the Democrats. All the Republican candidates for these two offices also were invited. They are Del. Rob Bell and Sen. Mark Obenshain for Attorney General, and Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, E. W. Jackson, Del. Scott Lingamfelter, Sen. Steve Martin, Pete Snyder, Corey Stewart, and Susan Stimpson for Lt. Governor. Only two of the Republicans responded—Davis and Stimpson—to the invitation. The Republicans will be nominated in convention by the GOP later this month in Richmond.
In addition to POFEV, the organizations sponsoring the event were: the Alliance for Progressive Values, Sierra Club, Unite Women.org, Get Equal, NOW, Progress VA, and Virginians for Responsible Gun Laws. Kim Allen, President of the Richmond branch of the NAACP, moderated the evening.
The groups are discussing how best to offer a similar forum, or sets of forums, in advance of the November general election.
Let's keep praying and speaking. . . .
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