More than 50 elected officials from across the country joined together Thursday night for a “Voices of Victory” broadcast presented by the LGBTQ Victory Fund.
The 1-hour program featured messages from U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and Florida Representative Carlos G. Smith as well as performances by Melissa Etheridge and Billy Porter.
“LGBTQ voices in government are needed now more than ever before, especially as Trump’s shameless and bigoted attacks on LGBTQ Americans have empowered those who oppose EQUALITY to try and chip away at our progress in legislatures across the country,” said Smith, who represents District 49 in Tallahassee. “Together, LGBTQ elected leaders AND allies can form unbreakable coalitions to stop these attacks and work to create a stronger more equal nation.”
Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg urged more participation from the community.
“We need more from our community to seek and win public office,” said Buttigieg, noting that 22,000 elected LGBT officials were needed to reach equitable representation.
Etheridge performed her hit, “Come To My Window,” a song she recorded in 1993 after coming out as a lesbian.
Porter, an award-winning actor, dancer, singer, writer and advocate, performed the love tinged song “Finally Ready.”
The virtual program was a fundraiser for the Victory Institute’s Presidential Appointments Initiative. Annise Parker, LGBTQ Victory Fund President, said the initiative’s chief goal is to nominate an LGBT member to the Supreme Court. The goal of $75,000 was met within the hour.
The program closed with the elected officials reading the final paragraph of Harvey Milk’s famous 1978 hope speech.
“You have to give them hope,” said Milk, the former gay San Francisco supervisor. “Without hope, the uses will give up.”