Biden, Obama appear for Pride Live's virtual Stonewall Day

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Friday June 26, 2020
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Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Friday appeared with his wife in a video for Stonewall Day. Photo: Biden for president campaign
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Friday appeared with his wife in a video for Stonewall Day. Photo: Biden for president campaign

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, appeared via video as part of Stonewall Day celebrations June 26.

A separate video was also done by former President Barack Obama.

Pride Live, a social advocacy and community engagement organization for the LGBTQ community, held its third annual Stonewall Day, a global campaign to elevate awareness and support for the Stonewall legacy and the continuing fight for full LGBTQ equality.

To open Stonewall Day, Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, delivered a surprise message to the LGBTQ community. In their message, the two responded to the U.S. Supreme Court's historic ruling last week to protect LGBTQ workers against discrimination. They also remembered transgender icons Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera and called attention to violence and discrimination facing transgender people, especially Black transgender women.

"The fight is far from over and the path ahead is going to be anything but easy," Biden said in his message. "These fights require leadership. Wherever injustice exists, leaders across the world must respond with action. I assure you that America once again will be the beacon of hope for LGBTQ people, here at home and throughout the world."

Obama also addressed the LGBTQ community: "Whether we're fighting to protect a patient from discrimination in the healthcare system, or to combat violence against the LGBTQ community, particularly trans women of color, or to link arms with the causes of racial and social justice that have been sweeping the country, I hope you know that your voice can make an enormous difference.

"I hope you all understand what Edie Windsor and Harvey Milk and Bayard Rustin all knew: that progress doesn't happen on its own," the former president stated. "It happens because we stand up, speak out, and demand change. That's what America has always been about. So keep on protesting peacefully and safely, whether that's in your home, on social media, or out in the streets. Make sure you're registered to vote."

Windsor, a lesbian, was an American LGBT rights activist and a technology manager at IBM. She was the lead plaintiff in the 2013 Supreme Court of the United States case United States v. Windsor that overturned Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. The decision, two years before the high court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, was a key moment in the marriage equality fight. Windsor died in 2017.

Milk, the first gay person elected to office in San Francisco and California, served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for 11 months before he was assassinated in November 1978. (Then-mayor George Moscone was also killed in the shooting.)

Rustin, a gay Black man, was a civil rights activist. In February, California Governor Gavin Newsom posthumously pardoned Rustin, whose 1953 arrest in Pasadena, California on vagrancy charges led to jail time and inclusion on the sex offender registry. Rustin died in 1987.

Launched in 2018, Stonewall Day is a national day of awareness to commemorate the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots. This year's event was hosted by transgender model and advocate Geena Rocero and included segments on Black Lives Matter and the dangerous rise of violence facing trans women, especially Black trans women. Pride Live's Stonewall Day is available on Logo's YouTube and Facebook pages.

"COVID-19, and the recent events that have placed a national and global spotlight on the need for fair and equal treatment for all people, has impacted so many around the world and the LGBTQ community has not been immune," stated Yvette C. Burton, Ph.D., president of the Pride Live board of directors. "This has resulted in vital and life-saving LGBTQ organizations having to severely amend their budgets and programs. Our hopes are Stonewall Day can assist our beneficiaries in continuing their work and service to the community."

The event raised funds for LGBTQ organizations most affected by COVID-19

In partnership with WarnerMedia, Nasdaq, and Pride Media, and with support from GLAAD, Stonewall Day raised critical funds for four LGBTQ organizations: Trans LifeLife, Brave Space Alliance, The Ally Coalition, and TransLatin@Coalition. During the event, Pride Live announced that philanthropists Tim Gill and Scott Miller of the Gill Foundation contributed $50,000 to Stonewall Day. Donations can be made by texting REBEL to 243725.

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