(Transcript from 6/26/15 speech in the Castro) There are historical moments that are forever seared in one’s memory. We will always remember where we were when:
- Kennedy was shot,
- King was assassinated,
- Harvey Milk and George Moscone were killed,
- The Challenger exploded,
- The ’89 earthquake rumbled,
- The Twin Towers collapsed,
- Obama was elected,
- Oscar Grant was killed at the Fruitvale station.
And now, where we were when the Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land.
For the record, I was in Planet Fitness. My workout routine suddenly included cardio crying.
This day has come because the love that dared not say its name finally uttered it aloud. Came out of the closet and into the streets, held fast to hope against despair, organized and lobbied, believed when all felt lost, kept dreaming nonetheless, and reached for rights long denied.
We are surrounded this day by saints who are no longer with us, who made a way where there was no way, who inspired us to dream boldly and in rainbow colors, whose passion for justice fueled a fire in us when our souls were weary. We are here because of their tenacity and vision.
We are here today mindful, too, of those who will come after us: those LGBTQ children and youth, teenagers and young people. Because of today’s Supreme Court decision, we pray that their lives will be free from the stifling closets many of us had to emerge from, will be free from taunts and bullying, will be free from violence and oppression, because — thanks to the hard work of so many — the law of this land no longer deems our love and relationships less-than, unequal, and unworthy.
Let the love and joy that exists in our community bubble up and over the United States of America, so that this country can experience an infusion of love’s power, which it so desperately needs. For hatred still seeks to stifle, strangle, and destroy individuals, families and entire communities. Nowhere has that more vividly and violently expressed as it has in Charleston, SC, at the Emanuel AME Church. As Cedric Harmon aptly penned today: “Perhaps this is a moment for our nation and our movement to acknowledge that LGBT people of color are fighting for our lives — not just for our way to the altar.”
Today, let us celebrate! Let us live into the joy of this historic moment, living into love’s promise, and then, tomorrow, may we rise to once again commit ourselves to the work of justice, for communities of color, for the poor, for the differently abled, for children, for transfolk, as we, all of us, every single one of us, work together to help the moral arc of the universe bend towards justice.
Reverend Dr. Karen P. Oliveto, Senior Pastor