Our contributors’ thoughts on Prop 5 continue in Part Four…
Felix Rivera shares his thoughts
Awe and inspiration.
The only words that can describe the feelings I had after over 60 volunteers poured in to the office on election day to ring in what was sure to be a victory. We could all feel the buzz in the air. One Anchorage ran the biggest and best campaign the city had ever seen, so how could we lose? After working for 15 hours straight and leading the last throng of volunteers, who made over 45,000 calls in one day, I was exhausted.
The field team, myself and the rest of the HRC organizers who came in after a marriage victory in Washington to join Anchorage in its struggle for the last few weeks, called it quits and headed over to Snow City, to join others in celebrating a great run. At Snow City, everyone could feel the tension in the air. The election had been a mess, but we remained strong as a community.
Shock and disappointment.
Just hours later, these were the only words passing through my mind. It was like watching an episode of the Twilight Series in slow motion. As soon as the team and I walked in to Myrna’s after enjoying some relaxation time at Snow City, we were confronted with the first round of election results. With 11% of precincts reporting, we were only a 1/2 point down, and those were probably precincts on the South side of Anchorage anyways. But as the night progressed, and more precincts reported in, our numbers continued to decrease and the process continue to be described as the worst-run election in Anchorage history.
This was not the day I was expecting at 6:45am, when I joined the rest of the sign wavers at the intersection of New Seward and Northern Lights, or when the sun peeked over the mountains, seemingly lighting our way to victory with its embrace. Nor when our volunteers talked to voter after voter who had voted YES on 5 already, or committed to later that day.
The day after the election, my mood was tangible. I could feel the sadness in the air, the sadness of a community who had put all its best cards in to one game and apparently had lost. Anchorage, which had always been a place of wonder to me, seemed different. It seemed darker, uglier even. A place where 50% plus one of its residents did not accept me for who I am.
But then I read a poem sent to me by a friend, titled “Carry On,” by Robert Service. One stanza stuck with me:
And so in the strife of the battle of life
It’s easy to fight when you’re winning;
It’s easy to slave, and starve and be brave,
When the dawn of success is beginning.
But the man who can meet despair and defeat
With a cheer, there’s the man of God’s choosing;
The man who can fight to Heaven’s own height
Is the man who can fight when he’s losing.
The last line in the stanza seemed weird to me though. It took me a couple of days after the initial shock to get it, but I did. We had not “lost” as a community. We had won. We had changed the minds of countless thousands of Alaskans who once thought of us as the “other” the “weird.” We have implanted the seeds of justice and right in the hearts of thousands upon thousands who went to the polls in droves to support Proposition 5.
We have changed the face of Anchorage forever, and we have left our enemies scared. Though they may wish us to remain silent, we will not.
We will not be silent. We will be heard. We will not hide. We will be seen.
Sound familiar? These words echo our theme for this years Pride, which will be the biggest and best Pride ever, thanks to all the efforts of the One Anchorage campaign.
Be Seen asks others to see us. Be Seen asks us to show the truth. Be Heard asks others to hear us. Be Heard asks us to break the silence. Be Pride asks others to join us in celebrating our true colors.
Be Seen. Be Heard. Be Pride. Because of One Anchorage, we can now live this theme like we could never have lived it before.
We will BE PRIDE.
Join me in creating a great Pride for all of Anchorage, as we continue to strive and BE One Anchorage.
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