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OpEd: Have Pride in the Pride Center

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In Broward County, we have been fortunate to have able and credible leadership steer not only our Pride Center at Equality Park but a host of our nonprofits, all working vigilantly to gain and keep our public trust.

One sex offender carelessly employed on the campus of the Pride Center cannot be allowed to demean or deny all the good the visionaries and volunteers of the Pride Center at Equality Park have accomplished over the last decade.

Too many lives have been enriched, too many good programs undertaken, and too many people have been served to allow a careless misstep to sabotage the staff and souls who have so honorably worked and so hard for so long, doing it with class and grace, while serving so well our community’s needs.

The Pride Center at Equality Park has written its story over the years with amazing achievements from AIDS counseling to drug programs, youth counseling to senior groups, from hosting educational seminars to community rallies.

We are simply home to one of the premiere, best, top, efficient Pride centers in the country, and I have been to every city with one. We are second to none and stand equal with them all. And we are more loving, spacious and prettier than many.

Our cover two weeks ago may have been troubling and we may be in deep water, but damn, our community has overcome so much worse. We are lucky to have directors working hard to ensure that honor and integrity is maintained as its mission.

Our duty as a newspaper is not to kill our own. It’s simply to report a story. And it’s sad when a friend is arrested, a bar owner goes broke, or a good person does a bad thing. But we did not wear the raincoat while naked in the park. We just reported on who did.  Bad things happen, and that’s news too. We don’t live in a bubble.

Most importantly, you don’t give up. You don’t abandon ship. You right the wrong and set sail again, with the promise to do better next time, armed with the knowledge of a lesson well learned.

My sometimes unfortunate job as your local neighborhood publisher, is to remind you- today again- that a legitimate newspaper, an honest newspaper, one that publishes all the news, good or bad, has a fundamental obligation to cover a community’s wins and its wounds, the victories that make us proud, the warts that shame us.

Please though don’t lose faith in the good our Pride Center has done. Just witness the Diversity Honors program this weekend as the Hard Rock Casino, the Harvey Milk Foundation and the Pride Center at Equality Park come together with students from the Gay Straight Alliance at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to showcase the unity and spirit we can generate working together to promote the public good.

The ship that is the Pride Center at Equality Park is battle tested and seaworthy. Help make it sail to new ports and brighter horizons. Don’t let one storm sink it. It’s been helping this community with good deeds and great people for years. Let’s give back some of the love. It’s a place to be proud of.

The Pride Center is bigger than any one person. It has to survive after we are all long gone.  No one person can stand in it’s way, and if he through misfortune does, then the right thing to do is for him to stand down on his own, directed by his conscience and the greater good.

We are all here for a limited time. Life is too brief a moment. It can be taken away suddenly or slowly, so sing your song while you are here. You can leave a legacy whether you were a math teacher in Hewlett, Long Island like Stuart Milk’s uncle, or a student in Parkland, Florida whose life was lost too soon. Never give up and always move forward.

You can be the survivor that tells a new story of honor and joy, love and passion, caring and concern. Find your corner of the world and build it into Main Street. You are only limited by the boundaries of your imagination. Have none. Dream forever. Build your castle.

Keep the ability to laugh at yourself and you will never cease to be amused.

Value every breath you can take, every sight you can see and every friend you can make. They come and go so much faster then we ever think. Along the way, smile and give second chances. None of us are perfect. That’s why they made erasers and white out years ago.    


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