My Pride Proclamation for the City of Santa Monica, 2023.
Happy Pride Month to everyone, everywhere! :)
This year, I was given the honor of delivering the official Pride Proclamation for the City of Santa Monica.
Being at City Hall, as part of a community that has been so good to me, as a long-term professor at Santa Monica College, made me feel so grateful. I felt proud and fortunate to be able to give something back to Santa Monica. There is also a video of me reading this, which was filmed at the English department at Santa Monica College, and I'd like to thank Elisa Meyer, the Chair of the English Department, for graciously letting me film in a place that has been an academic home to me.
I thought I would share this address to everybody. It's been a very tumultuous time, and for many of us, Pride month will be tempered with concern, watchfulness, and perhaps not a little fear.
And yet, it is still Pride month, and we will do as we always do—affirm who we are and dance as if both no one and everyone is watching.
Wherever you are, Happy Pride.
I send all of you love.
I would like thank the Members of the City Council and Mayor Gleam Davis for inviting me to give the 2023 Pride Proclamation for our beautiful City of Santa Monica.
Also, to Clove Galilee from Cultural Affairs to make this whole process so enjoyable and special.
As I read this, I think about how fortunate we are. Although Pride Month will be celebrated throughout the country and the world, not everyone will be able to observe pride as proudly and openly as we do here this afternoon.
As I read this, I think about how fortunate we are. That we can celebrate Pride not because we are better or more deserving or more able as individuals, but because we as a community, have committed to being not merely tolerant, but proud of each other.
As I read this, I would ask that you think about how fortunate we are to be here, perhaps invoke a prayer of thanks if you are so inclined, not only to what higher powers you believe in, but for those around you, right now,
for here is where we work every day to build a world where we all can work and play and live, with dignity, affirmation, and pride.
SANTA MONICA PRIDE PROCLAMATION 2023 BY RYKA AOKI
My name is Ryka Aoki.
I come to you as one face among many. As one voice among many.
I come to you representing one sexuality among many—one gender among many.
I come to you as one person among so many who have found in Santa Monica a community to engage and inhabit with love.
Each of us brings our passion and life to this beloved city, and on this occasion, I am proud to share my words—written and spoken as a novelist, poet, and professor, as well as a queer, trans, woman of color—with you.
The breeze from the Pacific cleanses the air for everyone, the call of the waves stirs the hearts of everyone, the glorious sunsets release the moon and stars to jewel the sky high above everyone.
We recognize our profound, everlasting debt to the Gabrielino-Tongva who were the original people of this land, and to their descendants, who to this day display a resilience, patience, and wisdom that humbles us all.
We believe that our best futures come neither by shutting out our neighbors, nor merely by coexisting, but through all of us, in all our myriad cultures and incarnations, helping, trusting, sharing, and living in our shared humanity.
We affirm that although LGBTQIA+ people, especially trans people, have been subjected to unwarranted suspicion and discrimination—our LGBTQIA+ communities are as irreplaceable and precious to Santa Monica as the sun and surf themselves.
We believe that spotlighting and celebrating our LGBTQIA+ communities through stories, performances, poetry and music and art might vaccinate future generations against senseless discrimination and hate.
Our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual+ friends and family deserve all the heartfelt recognition and welcomes this city can bestow—not because they are brilliant or beautiful or perfect, but because they are just the way they are.
I, Ryka Aoki, a trans, queer, woman of color—as well as a writer, professor, and longtime member our Santa Monica community—on behalf of the Members of the City Council and Mayor Gleam Davis, with pride, and hope, and so much love, do hereby proclaim the month of June 2023 as LGBTQIA+ PRIDE MONTH in the City of Santa Monica and encourage all citizens to join me in this observance.
Photos courtesy of the City of Santa Monica and J. Dianne Dotson.
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