One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the unique opportunity it provides family and friends to reconnect and share stories.
Whether that’s through the holiday cards and letters we send to one another, or time spent around the dinner table with those we love, this season affords us a rare chance to pause, reflect, and share the stories of our lives.
Stories are the lifeblood of our work at Pride Foundation. In every organization we support, each student scholarship we award, and all the local leaders we invest in throughout our region, there are amazing stories of strength, resilience, and courage. They are what fuel our work and the ongoing fight to ensure that everyone in every community is safe to be who they are, where they are.
We know that for every person who is able to live openly and genuinely, there are countless more in our community that continue to live in the shadows—their stories and experiences remaining untold.
While the struggles confronting the LGBTQ community are immense, I believe there is limitless power in the stories we collect. It’s why these eNewsletter updates are so important; each is filled with stories of community members from across our region making strides, enduring, and finding the will to rise above the odds.
This month is no different:
Read the story of Shawn Francis, a transgender man in Montana whose difficulty finding culturally-competent, affordable healthcare is being helped by the incredible work of two Pride Foundation grantees, Bridgercare and Gender Expansion Project.
Or the story of Mujeres Diversas, a powerful program of Entre Hermanos, that is providing a welcoming and culturally-accepting environment for young Latinas in the Seattle area to share their challenges and resiliencies.
In 2015 Pride Foundation will celebrate our 30th Anniversary. We expect it to be a remarkable and joyous year for many reasons. But most importantly, it will mark three decades of gathering, sharing, and celebrating the remarkable stories that make our community so strong.
We will honor and highlight powerful stories—many of which have remained untold—in multiple ways throughout the coming year. We’re also proud to announce a new partnership with StoryCorps OutLoud, a multiyear initiative dedicated to recording and preserving LGBTQ stories across America. Through this collaboration, we will connect the StoryCorps team to members of Pride Foundation’s varied and diverse community throughout the Northwest in order to document the profound historical and personal importance of the LGBTQ experience in our region.
So, as the year draws to an end and we close the book on our last eNewsletter, I want to leave you with a simple, but important request.
This holiday season, as you step away from work and spend time with those you love most, make room for the stories in your life. Listen closely to those closest to you. Draw them out and pay special attention to the details—big or small. Ask questions and follow up. Then reciprocate with your own stories, too.
For it is only in the sharing of these collective experiences that we truly build community and find the strength required to keep moving forward.
Kris Hermanns is Pride Foundation’s Executive Director. Email Kris.