UUs in Westchester & Rockland, NY Support PrideWorks for Youth
PrideWorks is a prominent educational conference for LGBTQ youth and their allies, held annually in Westchester County, New York. Every year, some 600 LGBTQ youth, their educators, parents, and allies flock to PrideWorks for seminars and speakers addressing such topics as healthy relationships, coming out, anti-bullying, and building a gay-straight alliance.
Every year there are also protesters outside the conference. This year their message was one of change–not for themselves but instead that our youth should change their sexual orientation. We are bothered every year by their presence as it’s the first thing that the youth see as they arrive. This year we offered a different greeting with a Standing on the Side of Love banner, which the youth appreciated enthusiastically.
Now in its fourteenth year, many Unitarian Universalist youth and adults in our area have attended the PrideWorks conference since the beginning. Some time ago, the youth group from our congregation in Hastings on Hudson held a fundraiser to support the conference, becoming the first UU supporter listed in the program. Over the past year, we have organized a bigger presence at PrideWorks. Each of the congregations in Westchester and Rockland obtained governing board approval to be an official sponsor and raised funds in some fashion, ranging from a youth group bake sale to share-the-plate programs.
This year, we were a “Rainbow Circle” supporter–recognized prominently with a display table to provide supportive material to youth. Many of us wore our Standing on the Side of Love shirts to help spread love all weekend long.
This post was contributed by John Cavallero, the Director of Religious Education at the First Unitarian Society of Westchester in Hastings on Hudson, New York. Other participating UU congregations include: Mohegan Lake, Croton on Hudson, Mount Kisco, White Plains, and Pomona.