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March 1, 2011 > Award honors PFLAG president and members

Award honors PFLAG president and members

Submitted By Allysson McDonald

On Sunday, February 13 the Inclusiveness and Diversity Committee (IDC) of Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Fremont presented Pat Skillen, President of the local Fremont/East Bay chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), with a "Love Hero" award from the "Standing on the Side of Love" project of the national Unitarian Universalist Association.

The message "Standing on the Side of Love" has become a rallying cry for people of various faith traditions in situations where people are being marginalized and oppressed because of who they are. The goal is to harness love's power to challenge exclusion, oppression, and violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, race, religion, or any other identity.

The committee recognized Skillen and the members of the PFLAG chapter for their affirmation of the full humanity of our Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) neighbors and friends. "The parents and unsung heroes of our local chapter have been doing the hard work over the long haul, largely without recognition, to make the Tri-City area a safer and more welcoming place for LGBTQ couples and kids," explained IDC committee chair Beth Schaefer.

The PFLAG Fremont/East Bay Chapter was started 17 years ago, and has been supporting and advocating for LGBTQ issues through countless support group meetings, advocacy at city council and school board meetings, by producing a local cable access TV program, and sponsoring events for local LGBTQ kids, as well as being instrumental in founding the community group Not in Newark. Schaefer added, "Crucial education and advocacy for the rights and protection of LGBTQ people is being provided in the East Bay by our local PFLAG chapter. We are delighted to highlight and honor this work that affirms the full humanity of all people and demonstrates how every single human deserves equal treatment."

Around a hundred members and friends of Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation attended the service at which the award was presented. A collection for the local PFLAG chapter raised over $600 in support of their programs. Mission Peak Minister Jeremy Nickel said, "When the first principle of our denomination says that we affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, those words only become real when we live them in the world."

Visit the Mission Peak Congregation website at www.mpuuc.org for additional information. Learn more about "Standing on the Side of Love" at www.standingonthesideoflove.org and its sponsor, the Unitarian Universalist Association, at www.uua.org.

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