Western Van visits Elmira, NY
Today was our first real day of action, taking place in a little town called Elmira. We were all a little nervous about our first time out, and certainly tired from staying up late preparing, but also excited to be finally getting started after all our preparation.
The main action for the day was handing out “wedding cake” on a busy street corner. We bought a plain sheet cake from a local grocery and cut it into small pieces, which we then handed out to passers-by along with a flyer entitled “Piece of Cake” which explains the difficulties LGBT couples face as they seek to affirm their relationships legally. We also had a large sign saying “Honk for Marriage Equality”, which Jason waved with great enthusiasm. The response from the local citizens was mostly positive, and we gave away 80+ pieces of cake in about an hour, in addition to distributing information to many more who didn’t want cake. It was great to feel like we’d really made an impact, and we’re looking forward to doing similar actions later on down the road. Unfortunately we were not able to meet with Senator George Winner at his Elmira office due to his being called back to Albany to complete legislative business, but we did drop off literature at his office and to that of Assemblyman Thomas O’Mara.
Then it was off to Rochester, about a two-hour drive involving lots of napping. We enjoyed a quick and delicious dinner provided by the local Metropolitan Community Church and heard many personal testimonies of people’s lives made unnecessary complicated and because of their inability to wed, with tragic consequences. We then rushed to a meeting hosted by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Downtown United Presbyterian Church. We participated in a panel discussing several different LGBT issues including marriage equality and gender non-discrimination. We had a few minutes to share our own stories, and it was really helpful and inspiring to connect with other people doing similar work around the state and country from different angles.
Many thanks to the local people who have provided us with meals and places to sleep and work!
Victor and Jarrett discussing our stop at Elmira
David demonstrates how NOT to handshake a legislator
Angel poses with an Elmira resident in Wisner Park