Vital Signs 2019
Several years ago, I was invited to mount a photo exhibit in Zagreb, Croatia. “Vital Signs” was a collection of photographs that chronicled several years in the LGBTQ Movement in the United States.
The show’s narrative arc began with images of quilts from the AIDS Memorial Quilt displayed on the National Mall in Washington, DC during July 2012, and ended with images of New York City’s Pride Parade of 2013, the victory “lap” following the U.S. Supreme Court’s findings on June 26 that both California’s Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) were unconstitutional.
The final image in the show was of a plaque commemorating the Stonewall Inn, a bar in New York City frequented by gays, which was the site of riots following a raid there by police the night of June 28, 1969. After Stonewall, the gay rights movement came “out of the closet and into the streets” and into the public consciousness where it has remained since. The first Pride Parade was held in New York City on Sunday, June 28, 1970, one year after the riot.
This year, Arlington County celebrates “50 Years Forward: from riots to rights” and cities across the country, in red states and in blue states, from San Francisco to Omaha and New York to Sioux Falls, will host Pride events to honor the achievements and contributions of the LGBTQ+ community. Arlington County’s Pride Month Proclamation Ceremony will be held on Thursday, June 6 at noon in the County Board Room.
Each June, Arlington Public Library (APL) celebrates Pride, to honor LGBTQ+ Americans and their allies who have fought for and continue to fight for the right to be treated fairly, to be granted equal protection under the law and afforded the inalienable right to be happy. Gay rights are human rights, and libraries have a unique role in supporting the LGBTQI+ community: through our safe spaces where we foster inclusion, our collections which reflect diverse points of view, and our programs that educate and celebrate the differences among us that make Arlington a thriving community.
Two years ago, we signaled our embrace of inclusion with the addition of rainbow welcome signs posted on the entrances to each of our building locations. Last year we flew the pride flag at Central Library and displayed a Pride flag in each of our locations.
Throughout the month, we will be offering a range of Pride events throughout the library system.
And in keeping with our mission to educate, we have created a 2019 Pride booklist.
June is officially recognized as Pride month. Truthfully… every day is Pride month at APL.
For we are always:
Open to accepting others for who they are
Open to embracing diverse points of view
Open to protecting and nurturing those who are most vulnerable
Open to fulfilling hopes and dreams
Open to making Arlington the best it can be.
Our commitment to you.