Pink & Purple Weekend brings DCers together

Pink & Purple Sunset at Donovan House

Folks throughout the D.C. metro area came together  this past weekend for the Task Force’s inaugural Pink & Purple Weekend, which featured a Friday night women’s event, a Saturday skills training to bolster grassroots power, and a Sunday brunch honoring U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and local D.C. activists who are creating change in their community.

The weekend kicked off on June 3 with a Pink & Purple Sunset: a Women’s Event atop the Donovan House Hotel. With rousing performances by the DC Gurly show and local lesbian DJs vAnniety Kills, Natty Boom and JuneBullet, a good time was had by all.

On Saturday, the Task Force held Pink & Purple Power: a Training. This daylong training included presentations on “intersectionality,” movement myth busting, a federal snapshot and new findings from the transgender survey with speakers from the Task Force’s Academy for Leadership in Action.

Task Force staff presenting at Pink & Purple Power.

After lunch, trainees chose from one of three workshops to attend: Be a Volunteer Leadership Superhero; Sexuality, HIV, Race in D.C.; and Bridging the Youth/Elder Divide.

Pink & Purple Weekend was capped off with its signature event, the Pink & Purple Recognition Awards Brunch. Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey delivered her first Toast to the Movement speech, praising the event’s three honorees. At the end of her speech, every glass in the room was raised to our honorees and our movement.

Honorees included U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. Under her leadership, the Department of Labor has made significant strides in advancing equality for LGBT workers. This marked the first time the secretary of labor was given an award by a national LGBT rights organization.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis accepting the Task Force Leadership Award.

Accepting the award, the secretary spoke of her ease in supporting the LGBT community, including the hiring or LGBT workers in her department. She also discussed her commitment to the transgender community, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and the DREAM Act. She stated:

I’m honored to receive this award. But I dream of a day when it is commonplace for all of us to simply respect each other for who we all are.

You are the ones who deserve a medal.

You are the ones who are out there every day in the community leading by example.

You are the ones, through your actions and activism, who are changing hearts and minds every day. I know we still have so much to do, But as I prepared to come here today, I reflected on the progress we have made.

Attacks on LGBT people are now treated for what they are: Hate crimes — and we as a national community say no.

We’ve expanded federal health benefits for same-sex couples…

We’ve launched the first National HIV/AIDS strategy in our nation’s history!

The President continues to appoint members of this community to positions at every level.

At my agency alone, we have dozens of openly LGBT staff, some of whom fill very senior positions and some whom are here with us today…

People like my Assistant Secretary for the Office of Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez who is here today, where are you Kathy?!

These folks don’t only inspire me everyday; they inspire the many policies and initiatives that we’ve put in place at the Labor Department on behalf of the LGBT community — whether that’s gathering better data about LGBT workers and families, or including LGBT families in FMLA coverage — or our own EEO policy at DOL.

Team DOL please stand!

Let me clear — I have a self interest in this — I want the best and brightest at DOL — that means no-discrimination — we want everyone’s talent devoted to serving workers and getting our economy back on track!

You can read the full text of her speech here.

John Stocks and Peggy Shorey present the Leadership Award to Skip Roberts, assistant director of Government Affairs at SEIU.

John Stocks, executive director of the National Education Association, and Peggy Shorey, executive director of Pride at Work, presented the Leadership Award to Skip Roberts, assistant director of Government Affairs at Service Employees International Union (SEIU). He has played a key role in landmark victories for the LGBT movement at the local and state level from equal rights in Kalamazoo, Mich., to civil unions in Hawaii, as well as on the federal level, working on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Deacon Maccubbin and Jim Bennet, founders and owners of the former Lambda Rising Bookstore, were also honored. These two are truly building community and grassroots power. The duo helped found many youth, social and business organizations in and around the D.C. area. Maccubbin accepted the award humbly, commenting that you should not be honored just for doing what you love.

Deacon Maccubbin addresses the crowd.