This was a bittersweet weekend for us. We had the opportunity to reconnect with old friends, meet some new friends, amd remember someone who's made such a huge mark in our lives.
On the eve of Sevcik v. Sandoval's day in court (at the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals) and just after a remarkable series of advances for transgender civil rights, Las Vegas PRIDE weekend came and went. It was a time for celebration of recent progress, as well as a time of reflection on the challenges that still lie ahead.
Friday night's parade offered quite the exciting line-up. Communities of faith, Cleve Jones & Culinary 226, a host of local businesses, and even a few Las Vegas Metro Police officers (!!!) participated in the parade. Also riding in the parade were State Senators David Parks (D-Paradise), Pat Spearman (D-North Las Vegas), Kelvin Atkinson (D-North Las Vegas), & Justin Jones (D-Enterprise), along with Assembly Member James Healey (D-Enterprise), Lieutenant Governor candidate Lucy Flores (D), NV-03 Congressional candidate Erin Bilbray (D), and State Senate candidate Teresa Lowry (D).
Along 4th Street in Downtown Las Vegas, all these people marched in solidarity with Southern Nevada's LGBTQ community and our continuing struggle for full civil rights. They came to show their respect for our community and ask for our support. Doesn't it feel nice to receive this kind of respect?
Then came the Saturday festival. And yes, there were festivities all throughout Clark County Government Center's amphitheater. There were also some elected officials coming back to meet voters. And there were volunteers registering voters. There were families coming in to soak in the sun, along with young LGBTQ Nevadans coming in for a safe place to express themselves.
The whole weekend was a thing of beauty. When I first moved here to Southern Nevada five years ago, one of the first activities I did was Las Vegas PRIDE. So I always experience a rush of emotions around this time of the year every year. However, this PRIDE was the most poignant one for me yet.
I came to know Sandy Eddy quite well over the years. We both served on the Stonewall Southern Nevada board together. And during our time on the board, she became one of my "Vegas adopted mothers". She really meant that much to me, and to all the other people who came into her life.
Last Thursday, Sandy suffered a stroke and was rushed to the hospital. She didn't make it. Yet even at life's end, she kept giving of herself. Several of her organs are about to be donated to those in need. And during this time of mourning, she's brought back together those who had recently drifted apart.
Las Vegas PRIDE was one of the many community events Sandy made sure to do. That's why I ultimately felt compelled to go this past weekend. Even though I initially didn't even want to pull myself out of bed Friday morning, I knew Sandy would kick my ass if I didn't pull myself together and go. She always made sure to go where she was needed.
Sandy Eddy may no longer be with us physically, but I could feel her spirit with me at PRIDE. And I figured she would have been happy about everyone who turned out for the parade, all the activity at the Stonewall & PLAN booths at the festival, and all the other people at PRIDE who were there to serve the greater community.
This was a bittersweet weekend for so many of us. But with so much more to do, Sandy would want everyone to press forward. So we will. (Yet in the spirit of giving that Sandy embdodied all the way through to her very last moments, now's a great time to reach out & help her family during their time of grief.)