Friday, June 19, 2015

JUNETEENTH - A Reason to Celebrate

-152 years since the Emancipation Proclamation. 
-150 years since Texas slaves were granted freedom.

Today is Juneteenth, also known as "Freedom Day" or "Emancipation Day." It's a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It was on this date in 1865 that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to spread the word that slavery had been abolished. Of course, the Emancipation Proclamation had gone into effect some two and a half years earlier, in January 1863; most Confederate states ignored it until they were forced to free their slaves by advancing Union troops.

From the balcony of Galveston's Ashton Villa, General Gordon read the contents of General Order Number Three: "The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere."

Galveston's former slaves celebrated that day, and formal Juneteenth festivities were held in other parts of Texas on the first anniversary. Celebrations of the holiday have waxed and waned over the years; today, Juneteenth is celebrated in communities all over the country, and as of April 2012, it's officially recognized as a holiday by the governments of 42 of the United States. Observances often include a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation and performances of traditional African-American music, dancing, and literature.

Here is what that means to me as a descendant of slaves, I WILL PROTECT MY COMMUNITIES TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY. In doing so, I shouldn't have to choose between being Black & Gay because I was born with both traits. Because I am willing to take a stand like many others, I worked with a group of friends who represented a spectrum of groups within the SGL-BT/LGBT community. We were already in a uproar that Pride Houston moved the location of the Pride festivities to downtown from Montrose, even more livid when we realized the date change to June 19, 2015 from the traditional date that falls on Stonewall weekend. To ensure that the Black community and Juneteenth would be fully respected, we to met with three of the board members from Pride Houston and  that lead to the sequence of posts, actions and events below:

Ashton P. Woods
November 12, 2014 · 
Seeing as I need no permission to speak my mind AS AN INDIVIDUAL Pride Houston LGBT Pride Houston Celebration has really pissed me off, I along with many others met with them about 3 weeks ago in hopes to stave of the disaster of having the Pride celebration the same weekend as Juneteenth. It is utterly disrespectful to the BLACK SGL-BT community that they did not know about let alone research any conflicts the new date change would cause and how it would affect/effect others in the community at large. NOW, yet again I a BLACK man am forced to choose between being in the BLACK AND LGBT communities when IN FACT I am very much so a part of BOTH. YES it is business and that means that there is a bottom line....I PROMISE you that this is not over by any means ...... ‪#‎RESPECTtheDATE‬‪#‎PrideNEEDSfixin‬

Ashton P. Woods
November 12, 2014 · 
past parade dates back to 1994:
2014: 28
2013: 29
2012: 23
2011: 25
2010: 26
2009: 27
2008: 28
2007: 23
2006: 24
2005: 25
2004: 26
2003: 28
2002: 29
2001: 24
2000: 24
1999: 26
1998: 28
1997: 28
1996: 23
1995: 25, a Sunday
1994: 12, a Sunday, held to not conflict with NYC's Stonewall 25
TransGriot: PRIDE Houston, What Were You Thinking?
News, opinions, commentary, history and a little creative writing from a proud African-American transwoman about the world around her.
TRANSGRIOT.BLOGSPOT.COM|BY MONICA ROBERTS

Ashton P. Woods
November 12, 2014 · 
DEAR BLACK LGBTQ/SGL-BT show up to this meeting and SPEAK UP! Pay attention those of you who attend LGBT Pride Houston Celebration every year! It is the same weekend of Junteenth, I dont like that at all...AND if you dont, I SUGGEST YOU BE THERE.
Going
The Pride Perspective
Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 7:00pm
83 people went

Ashton P. Woods
November 12, 2014 · Edited · 

This was a letter written to LGBT Pride Houston Celebration and read during a meeting on October 22, 2014 in which three board members met with Myself Fran Watson Kim Watson Marshella AbramsMelanie Espinosa PangMichael C. Webb Jr. Tarah Taylor Synthia Yr Walton Christina Gorczynski and Ryan M Leach:

As Black LGBT and allied leaders and activists, we strongly and collectively oppose the June 20, 2015 date of the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration. We urge Pride Houston to move the celebration to June 27, 2015. Holding the Pride eon June 20th is a mistake for several reasons, but the top two reasons are 1) it directly interferes with Juneteenth, the oldest known nationally recognized celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the US and 2) it undermines the meaning of the Pride celebration, which at its core commemorates the Stonewall riots, the catalyst for the LGBT movement we know today. The effect of not moving the June 20 date will be disastrous, as it will erode the relationship built among the LGBT community and communities of color, specifically the Black community.

The erosion of these relationships will be detrimental to the Houston LGBT community with respect to the fight to keep the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. Opponents of the ordinance have vilified it since its inception stating in hateful terms that the ordinance is an underhanded means to grant more rights to LGBT persons while denying others. Because leaders from the mainstream black community feel they were not consulted, they were inclined to believe this false rhetoric of the HERO opposition. It took many long nights from LGBT and allied leaders to correct that misinformation. By holding the Pride celebration the same weekend of the Juneteenth celebration, communities of color will likely be inclined again to believe the misinformation, thereby unraveling community trust and HERO support.

Politics aside, maintaining the June 20 date excludes the Black LGBT community. At the very least, Black LGBT persons are put in a situation where they have to choose whether to celebrate Pride or Juneteenth with the corresponding communities. Far too often, people who live an intersected life must choose which part of their identity fits the occasion. During the Pride celebration, people, including those who live at those intersections, are able to bring their whole selves to the celebration. Why? Because the LGBT community contains all races, abilities, and identities. Moving the date to June 27the maintains the tradition of inclusiveness, something the LGBT community is continuously striving to attain.

Practically speaking, moving the date now will not cause any confusion and doing so quietly will prevent community uprisings. At this time, the June 27 date is free, which means the process to change it should be simple. However, not changing the date will definitely cause more problems than necessary.

So again, we urge you to move the Pride celebration back to the last Saturday of June, specifically June 27, 2015.

Ashton P. Woods
November 12, 2014 · Edited · 
Letter received from Pride Houston close to three weeks after our 10/22/14 meeting...
"November 11, 2014
Re: Request to move the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration
To Whom It May Concern:
The Board of Directors for Pride Houston® have discussed in length the recent request to move the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration® from Saturday, June 20, 2015 to the following week on Saturday, June 27, 2015 by a group of local individuals that are unassociated with any one (1) local group. With a 6-2 vote the Board of Directors have decided to continue with the current date of Saturday, June 20, 2015 for the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration.
There have been previous instances where the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration has fallen on the third weekend in June around the 20th of the month and similar requests were not made during those instances. Furthermore, a substantial amount has already been invested into the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration for its current date that would un-recoupable which can be crucial for any non-profit organization. As was recently confirmed by the Mayor’s office of Special events, currently on June 20, 2015 the only parade listed is set to begin at 10:00 AM CST and end around 11:00 AM CST. With the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration beginning its parade beginning at 8:30 PM CST it would show minimal impact on that parade. Pride Houston is willing to work with any organization that could be producing a parade on the same date so that both can be equally marketed and supported by the Houston community.
Pride Houston also hosts public production meetings on the 2nd Tuesday of every month where our volunteers discuss logistics, its events and of course the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration. This has been an ongoing tradition for over 15 years and would be an excellent opportunity for those not associated with the organization to observe, provide external insight, brainstorm new ideas and even volunteer for the organization. For more information on these meetings please email volunteer@pridehouston.org.
Sincerely,
Frankie Quijano President and Chief Executive Officer Pride Houston, Inc.
fquijano@pridehouston.org
The march on the steps of City Hall against Anita Bryan in 1977 is widely known as Houston's “Stonewall Movement”, so the legacy that began in downtown will continue on in downtown Houston in 2015."
Now these are the past parade dates back to 1994:
2014: 28
2013: 29
2012: 23
2011: 25
2010: 26
2009: 27
2008: 28
2007: 23
2006: 24
2005: 25
2004: 26
2003: 28
2002: 29
2001: 24
2000: 24
1999: 26
1998: 28
1997: 28
1996: 23
1995: 25, a Sunday
1994: 12, a Sunday, held to not conflict with NYC's Stonewall 25
See it?
http://transgriot.blogspot.com/…/pride-houston-juneteenth-p…

Ashton P. Woods
November 12, 2014 · 
ATTENTION MESSAGE TO THOSE OF YOU WHO SEEK TO HIDE THE TRUTH, I WILL KEEP SHARING THIS FUCKING PIC...YOU REPORTED IT AND NOW IT IS BACK UP .....EVERYBODY MAKE THIS GO VIRAL ...YOU WANT TO HIDE BEHIND IGNORANCE AND I WONT LET YOU...‪#‎BASICBITCHES‬

"...What involvement has the African American community been part of in past the events...."
We attend Pride Houston LGBT Pride Houston Celebration faithfully and spend our money at this event....THIS IS WHAT THEY THINK OF US
‪#‎CHANGEtheDATE‬ ‪#‎RESPECTus‬ ‪#‎RespectJuneteenth‬
Ashton P. Woods's photo.

Ashton P. Woods
November 13, 2014 · 
The winds of Media ‪#‎PRIDEneedsFIXIN‬ ‪#‎RespectJUNETEENTH‬ ‪#‎WeEXIST‬
Houston, We Have A Pride Problem |News | Towleroad
Houston, We Have A Pride Problem -- News |-- Gay Pride, Houston, Texas
TOWLEROAD.COM

Ashton P. Woods
November 13, 2014 · 
PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE
https://www.change.org/p/pride-houston-change-the-date-of-t…
Ashton P. Woods's photo.

Ashton P. Woods
November 13, 2014 · 
A MESSAGE TO LGBT Pride Houston Celebration Pride Houston from theHarris County Democratic Party

‪#‎RespectJuneteenth‬ ‪#‎CHANGEtheDATE‬
Harris County Democratic Party
As a participating organization in both Juneteenth festivities and the Houston GLBT Pride Parade, the Harris County Democratic Party understands the importance of both events to the citizens of Houston and the surrounding regions.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It was the day when slaves in Texas learned of the Emancipation Proclamation and their freedom was finally granted.
The Houston GLBT Pride celebration has traditionally been held near the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York, where GLBT people unified and stood against police raids and brutality.
Both celebrations are significant and the fact that so many people want the freedom to celebrate both demonstrates the rich cultural diversity of the Harris County region.
At a time when voting rights remain under attack and violence against people of color and GLBT people continues to occur, Democrats should continue embracing diversity and honor history.
The Harris County Democratic Party urges the leadership of Pride Houston to reconsider their decision to hold the GLBT Pride Festival and Parade on Juneteenth weekend.

Jolanda Jones
November 13, 2014 · 
Thank u Almeda 4 sending this out today & paying attention 2 the worker bees in our community. I appreciate u. Another update: Since Almeda sent this out, Pride Houston has said they will reconsider moving the parade date. Also I spoke of this issue at the Democratic Brown Bag Luncheon this afternoon 2 apprise Democrats of this important matter & I'm happy 2 say that the Democrats in the meeting were supportive of us & Chairman Lane Lewis shortly thereafter sent out his press release in favor of Pride Houston reconsidering their parade date. I'd also like thank Michael Harris, Ashton Woods & Tarah Taylor 4 giving me the information I needed 2 run with the ball. ‪#‎Juneteenth‬ ‪#‎PrideHoustonReconsideration‬ ‪#‎Awesome‬‪#‎ThxKeithWade‬ ‪#‎ThxBradPritchett‬ ‪#‎ThxKristenCapps‬ ‪#‎ThxMaverickWelsh‬@jonesjolanda @survivorjolanda Jolanda Jones
Dear Friends,
Good afternoon everyone. I'm happy to announce that former council member Jolanda Jones has been working diligently behind the scenes to get this issue resolved related to PRIDE Houston setting their parade on June 20th. She has been able to make tremendous strides. She worked with GLBT organizations to get their support of our African American community. She's also been working with the mayor's office to get them to be supportive of moving the PRIDE parade to a date that does not conflict with Juneteenth. The date that the parade should be the weekend of June 27th because the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots is actually June 28, 1969.
She also spoke to Harris County Democratic Chairman Lane Lewis about this issue to try to get him to take a stand in favor of the PRIDE Parade being moved to the actual weekend of the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
Jolanda notified us about the PRIDE Houston monthly public meeting tonight which is at 7 o'clock at the Montrose Center, 401 Barnard St., Houston, TX 77006. She's the one who encouraged us all to come and be heard.
So just to give an update I'm thankful that someone notified Former Council Member Jones about this problem because the moment she got involved she got things moving. Per the Council Member the GLBT organizations that she spoke with were immediately supportive of moving the parade and trying to figure out how they could be helpful to us. The only organization at this point that seems not to understand is PRIDE Houston. Council Member Jones informs me that our attendance and participation at the meeting tonight will be the first step to getting PRIDE Houston to do what's right for the African American and GLBT community. If they don't get it then she is helping to organize a boycott of the PRIDE Houston sponsors.
This reminds me of how she always fought for us on city council. I hope to see everyone tonight at the meeting so that our voices will be heard.
Almeda Dent
— with Edward Pollard and 11 others.


Jeffry Faircloth
November 13, 2014 · 
At the Pride Houston town hall meeting. The committee has announced that they have now changed the date to the traditional date of the 4th Saturday of June. Good news. — with Robert Kory Shipman and 5 others at The Montrose Center.


Ashton P. Woods
November 13, 2014 · 
BREAKING LGBT Pride Houston Celebration HAS BEEN MOVED TO JUNE 27th 2015!
THANK YOU TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED IN HELPING TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN.....

Ashton P. Woods
November 13, 2014 · Edited · 
‪#‎WeEXIST‬ ‪#‎RespectJUNETEENTH‬ VICTORY!
2015 Houston pride parade date moved after uproar from community over its overlap with...
The initial date set by the Pride Houston's Board overlapped with Houston's Juneteenth parade. But it moved the date Thursday after board members admitted they did not...
ABC13.COM

Mark Eggleston
November 13, 2014 · 

Very thankful that Pride Houston has decided to honor Juneteenth and reschedule the 2015 Pride Parade to June 27. ABC13 news segment -www.abc13.com/394592 — with Jacques Bourgeois and Ashton P. Woodsat The Montrose Center.
Mark Eggleston's photo.

Ashton P. Woods
November 14, 2014 · Edited · 
‪#‎WeEXIST‬ ‪#‎RespectJUNETEENTH‬ VICTORY!
Communities clash over Juneteenth, Pride parades
The City of Houston's Pride Parade typically takes place the last Saturday of June, but Houston Pride Inc. board members told Local 2 they wanted to move the date up a week next year.
M.CLICK2HOUSTON.COM