This past Saturday, June 5th was ‘The Day of Acceptance’: Illuminate Pride. The event took place at Stanley Deming Park and was organized by The Warwick Valley Community Center, The Living Well Gay Alliance Program as well as other Community Center Youth Groups and supported by the Orange County Youth Bureau. Wickham Works, our local arts and culture organization, helped create the art for the event.
This day is a moment we recognize our LGBTQ community, to support them and to make a clear statement that they are accepted and loved. Throughout the year there are many celebrations and activities but few that frame members of our community that have struggled through bias, prejudice, and a sense of shame or that they did not belong. The Community Center has been a helping hand, a safe harbor, especially for youth who are struggling with identity. We are lucky to live in a community that has clearly made efforts to have an open dialogue and to give important support to our LGBTQ Community.
As part of the activities, Ellie Hanson was honored by the Orange County Youth Bureau for her work creating the Warwick Valley High School’s Gay Straight Alliance and the Community Center’s Living Well Gay Alliance Program. The Village also honored Ellie for her exceptional work and her creative spirit. A very extraordinary young lady!
I would like to thank Karen Thomas, Director of the Warwick Valley Community Center, and Melissa Shaw Smith from Wickham Works who helped create the event and work with our youth throughout the year to find their leadership skills or their creative voice.