Our community is one built on the experiences and bravery of those before us -- the heroes both sung and unsung. In June much of the world celebrates Pride. Pride means many things to different people. A declaration of their authentic selves. A testament of allyship and support. A month-long celebration to commemorate the persistence of LGBTQ heroes, and their fight to make the world a more just place.
At PROMO we recognize that there is not just one individual, advocate, or hero who makes the movement for equality possible. This movement is possible because of equality champions in all facets of our communities. We have honored elected officials, campaign leaders, community members, and professional advocates.
This year we are honoring a community organization that is a shining example of the power of community and organizing in Missouri: Cooper County LGBTQ Alliance, we see you!
The Cooper County LGBTQ Alliance was founded in 2017 to “cultivate a safe and affirming community,” and has been making history since its conception. Based in a county of fewer than 18,000 residents in what is a more rural area of Missouri, the Cooper County Alliance is the first LGBTQ group to organize in its area.
Spearheaded by Boonville resident Evan Melkersman, the Cooper County Alliance has convened monthly for the past year and a half, providing a brave space for local LGBTQ community members and allies to learn and grow from one another. While getting together once a month may not seem revolutionary, it is when one considers the daily reality for many LGBTQ Missourians. Missouri is not always an easy place to foster authentic and safe LGBTQ visibility.
The Cooper County Alliance has successfully promoted visibility and built relationships with local leaders, state legislators, and other equality organizations throughout Missouri. Most notably, just a week ago, they became the first LGBTQ organization to march in a parade in Cooper County. We are grateful they give us the opportunity to work together and support each other.
Thank you to the Cooper County LGBTQ Alliance your efforts to build and lift up the community. Cooper County is a safer and more affirming place for LGBTQ Missourians because of you, and that is why you are our 2018 Pride Hero!