After an absence of two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Washington, D.C., Capital Pride Festival was back yesterday – and Americans United was there.
I was pleased to join several of my AU colleagues at an informational table, where we talked with attendees, signed them up to receive AU emails and distributed AU swag. (It was a hot, sunny day, and our AU fans were a big hit.)
We had a steady stream of visitors all day. I was especially pleased to see so many young people come to our table. They saw our colorful Americans United banner, and they knew, even before we started talking to them, why this issue is so important.
Several made the connection between LGBTQ issues and church-state separation. Others brought up reproductive rights. They know what’s at stake. They know that the Supreme Court is chipping away at the church-state wall. In short, they get it.
Many visitors didn’t need to be prodded to add their names to our sign-up sheets. They saw the paper and started writing. One young man said to me, “I was born and raised in South Carolina. I know why this issue is so important.” A young woman told me as she added her name, “I’m a Pagan. I don’t want the government pushing Christianity or any religion on me.”
Yes, we do face a lot of challenges right now. But there is a ton of energy and enthusiasm out there we can tap into to meet those challenges. My takeaway from yesterday is that while many folks were very happy to get out and party with their friends at the festival after two years, they are also keenly aware of the gravity of this moment. There was an activist component to Capital Pride that could not be denied. I suspect this is playing out at Pride events all over the country this month.
Americans are increasingly waking up to the fact that church-state separation undergirds so many of our freedoms. They’re willing and eager to get to work. We welcome them to the ranks of Americans United.
P.S. If you’re not receiving AU’s emails but would like to, you can do that here by adding your email address under “Get Updates.”