October Program To Address White Privilege

On Thursday, October 6, PFLAG Denver will present its quarterly program, on dismantling white privilege within the queer community. In light of the recent troubling murders of people of color, the goal of this program will be to help white individuals identify their white privilege and how they can become allies to communities of color. The queer community has rightfully come under scrutiny for “whitewashing” tragic events such as Orlando, as well as historically neglecting queer voices of color.

Mia Furtado, a PFLAG board member, will present definitions of ‘privilege’ and explain how this applies to the white population and how white individuals can become aware of their innate privilege so they do not directly and/or indirectly pass on their ignorance and prejudice.

The program will be held at the CHUN Mansion, 1290 Williams St. in Denver, from 7:30-8:30.

The New Families Support Group will meet as usual at 6:30 p.m. and all will move to the Community Room at 7:30 for the program.

Come! Member Appreciation Day Brunch on July 30

The chapter invites you to a Member Appreciation Day BRUNCH on Saturday, July 30, starting at 10:00 a.m. at the CHUN mansion, 1290 Williams St. Please see the flyer we are sending as a separate attachment.
There will be games and music as well as food and drink, and you can be assured of a fun and lively time.

Chapter Hosts Vigil the Day after Orlando Tragedy

By Mia Furtado

On Monday evening, June 13, one day after the horrific event that occurred at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, the PFLAG Denver chapter
hosted a vigil for the lives lost the day before.

Like many, when I woke up Sunday, June 12, my world was rocked to the core with sorrow and disbelief that another extreme act of hatred and violence happened in the land of the equal and the land of the free. As I sat mute, next to my wife, unable to break away from my phone, I became so overwhelmed with emotion that I knew that I was not okay and the only thing I needed and wanted was to be with my community. I emailed the PFLAG Denver board and suggested we host a vigil, and before we knew it, the event took off like wildfire.

Once word of the vigil spread, local news stations asked for written and in-person interviews and the RSVP totals continued to climb on the Facebook event page. We were expecting 20 to 50 people max but as the day progressed, that number soared. Along with great public interest, donations and services were offered left and right. Both the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus and Harmony: a Colorado Chorale sang during the ceremony. Also, trained ASL (American Sign Language) interpreters reached out to offer to interpret the entire program so that queer members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing could attend and participate as well.

The speaking line-up for the vigil was brief, with seven speakers offering guided meditations and prayers in which the attendees voiced the need for acceptance, love and compassion. Jean Hodges, PFLAG National President, and Dave Montez, Executive Director of ONE Colorado, spoke. In addition, the names of the victims were read aloud by Blanca Leos, PFLAG Denver president, and a moment of silence was observed to honor each victim while candles were lit. News reports covering the vigil estimated that attendance was around 2,000 people despite the thunderstorm and rain showers that challenged the outdoor venue at the Cheesman Park pavilion. As the storms began to break and the skies cleared, a rainbow arced over the pavilion, a sign which many took for serendipity and celebrated with cheers. Huddled under umbrellas and ponchos and even standing in the rain without any cover, Denver’s community stood for an hour and a half in solidarity with the victims, families, and community of Orlando to mourn the senseless act of hate. Many shared their grief at the event through tears, words and embraces.

As the vigil came to a close, mourners created their own memorials by leaving flowers, signs and candles surrounding the pools, stairs and flower gardens of the park. Donations for the families were accepted and over $1,000 was donated. One mourner spoke to members of the board, thanking them for hosting this event because she was from Orlando and knew many of the victims.