I don’t know that I can encapsulate the entirety of what we’ve all endured in the last year in a single email. The trauma, loss of loved ones, isolation, fear, targeted violence, an insurrection. Each instance of impact ripples through us, our friends, families, organizations, communities, nation, and the world. As vaccines became available and the world began to open up, many of us rushed to rejoin our familiar lives, our joy.
In our rush to reclaim our spaces and connections, some have failed to realize how much we all have left to heal. That others around them are eagerly on the mend as well, many pushing themselves too far, too fast. I have heard from far too many in our community, small businesses, restaurants, bars, artists, performers, and service providers how challenging it has been to meet the rise in demand, while also coping with the hostility from those they hope to serve. Even with vaccines, even if we can beat this pandemic, it will take years to recover from the physical, emotional, mental health, and economic tolls we have all endured.
This year’s Pride theme is Resilient, and part of resilience is compassion. Yes, compassion for those around you, and also compassion for yourself. When you are hurt, injured, or sick, restoration takes time. We don’t always give ourselves the grace to stop, pause, go slow, and allow for healing to take place; let alone provide that grace and compassion to others.
I also felt compelled to write about compassion today because while the feedback we’ve gotten from this year’s Pride is some of the most positive I’ve seen in my decade with Pride, in the lead up to Pride our team and I personally received the greatest amount of hateful and threatening messages in these ten years. Those messages came from inside and outside our community. While it was completely random and not targeted, I’ve never had a gun pointed at me in my life until the Saturday of Pride weekend.
I don’t tell you all of this for sympathy. I share all of this with you as a reminder to rest, to restore, to listen to your own body and needs with compassion, to approach our still mending world with compassion. When we are whole and rested we are stronger. Compassion and healing is a requirement for success in our movement, it is what will keep us all Resilient.
Fernando Zweifach López
San Diego Pride