Michael Lavers reported from the Center’s inauguration event, Inauguration of President Obama: Witness History at the Center. From Edge New York:
by Michael K. Lavers
EDGE Mid-Atlantic Regional Editor
Thursday Jan 22, 2009
With the eyes of the world transfixed on Washington for President Barack Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday, LGBT New Yorkers were among those across the five boroughs who gathered to mark this historical milestone.
More than an estimated 100 people gathered at the LGBT Community Center in lower Manhattan to watch the festivities on CNN. Applause and tears were among the reactions at the moment Obama became the country’s 44th commander-in-chief.
“To watch it happen is amazing,” Derrick Flowers, a resident of Harlem and a Belizean immigrant, said. “It’s something for all people. It’s an opportunity to see a dream come true.”
Trystan Reese of Roosevelt Island agreed.
“This is a moment you get to remember for the rest of your life,” he said.
“This is a moment you get to remember for the rest of your life.”
Former President George W. Bush and wheelchair-bound former Vice President Dick Cheney received a steady stream of boos and hisses from those gathered at the Center–and a sustained applause when the former commander-in-chief’s helicopter flew over Washington for the last time. The Rev. Rick Warren elicited a similar response and even laughter as he delivered the inaugural invocation.
Barbara Mones watched the inauguration at the Center with her girlfriend Karen. She said Obama’s decision to invite Warren to deliver the invocation initially disappointed her. Mones added, however, she feels the choice was an intentional effort to reach out to fundamentalists.
“Obama is trying to put people to meld the factions out there,” she said.
Panelists at a forum moderated by WNYC hosts Brian Lehrer and Adaora Udoji at the Brooklyn Museum on Jan. 18 also alluded to Warren and his support of Proposition 8. The Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt of the Fourth Universalist Society of the City of New York conceded Obama’s choice “didn’t exactly make my day,” but she further noted she feels the president’s decision was not a surprise.
“It’s a community organizing principle 101 to begin to build alliances with people with whom you can do important work even when they don’t agree with you about things,” McNatt said. “We can expect more of that. We’re not all going to be happy…, but he [Obama]’s going to act like the community organizer he is.”
Michael K. Lavers is the Mid-Atlantic editor for EDGE Publications. His blog Boy in Bushwick can be found at www.boyinbushwick.blogspot.com
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