Commercial Street in Provincetown is infamously busy. It is one of the world’s most concentrated population of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) shoppers, residents and vacationers.
On Sunday mornings, however, Commercial Street is deliciously quiet. The thousands of revelers and visitors of the night before who strolled, strutted, performed and pranced up and down its street are nowhere to be seen.
But this past Sunday morning, August 26th, many could be seen walking up the steep incline of High Pole Hill Road to the Pilgrim Monument and Museum with a quiet excitement. They were trekking to the tallest granite structure in the U.S.to hear Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill.
The event was part of their two-day fundraising trip to the Cape. The Bidens, along with their granddaughter, came to Pâ€™Town as their wrap-up stop. And the community is glad they did.
The Bidens’ talk to the LGBTQ community was awe-inspiring and expressed their appreciation of our decade-long efforts for full equality and citizen rights.
“Many of you have advanced civil rights at great expense…If I had to use one adjective to describe this community it’d be courage. You have summoned the courage to speak out, to come out. We owe you!, ” Joe Biden told the crowd.
In understanding the interconnectedness of all civil rights struggles which ties everyone to a needed change and better future Biden told the audience how the LGBTQ struggle has advanced the “civil rights of every straight American…freeing the soul of the American people.”
Biden is no stranger to civil rights struggles in this country because he has been an instrument and a participant of the 1960’s Black Civil Right Movement to upend deep-seated bigotry. Biden shared with the audience a moving story of when he was a new senator on Capitol Hill and given the office of a retiring Southern senator. The table in his assigned office was where all the Southern segregationists of Congress gathered to confer on how to uphold the country’s Jim Crow edicts. When told the history of the table, Biden didn’t throw away the table but rather he used it to promote civil rights.
When I asked Douglas M. Brooks how he would depict the event, he said “Pretty incredible!”
Brooks, a former townie of Pâ€™Town and now a Dorchester resident, is the senior vice president of JRI and was one of the co-chairs of the fundraiser. In sending out an e-blast thanking all who had a hand in the success of the fundraiser he wrote the following:
Those of you who were able to join us yesterday know that it was a beautiful morning, in so many ways: the sunny blue skies, the gathering of joyful lesbians, gay men and our allies, the excitement of our sitting Vice President, his wife and granddaughter visiting Provincetown, and the VP’s reminder that ours is a different vision for this country and Barack Obama and he are the ones to take us there.”
Bidenâ€™s passion for justice, his folksy, homeboy mannerisms and his love for people literally reached out to the audience and touched many of them.
When I asked Kathryn Livelli how she would depict the fundraiser, she smiled saying “I’ll never wash this side of my face,â€ pointing to where Biden kissed her.
Livelli and her partner, Wendy Hinden, are owners of Womencrafts on Commercial Street, one of the few, if now not only, women’s bookstore in the country.
Hinden captured Biden’s passion on camera with my favorite picture being a photo of a single tear rolling down Joe Biden’s eye as he spoke passionately about his unwavering passion to see all Americans be treated equally.
In sending me her photos Hinden wrote the following:
“I have attached 6 pictures of Sunday’s wonderful heartfelt event held here in our beloved Provincetown. The last two pix are my favorites. I believe that those 2 pictures capture the passion and the conviction that VP Biden was feeling while he spoke to the crowd about civil rights for all Americans. When he spoke with gratitude for the strength and courage that the LGBT community has had in progressing the civil rights cause in America, Kathryn and I were moved to tears. We walked away from the event feeling the optimism that Joe and all of the other speakers conveyed to us. We are now very inspired to “roll up our sleeves” and see to it that there will be another victory in store for the Obama/Biden team.”
About $250,000 was raised from the event with nearly 400 in attendance. The tickets ranged from $250 for general admission to $25,000, which won you a photo-op moment with Biden.
The money raised goes to the Obama Victory Fund, which funds the Obama campaign, the Democratic National Committee and some state Democratic Parties.
Every nickel and dime is needed to turn the tide against what Biden depicts as “a race between the starkest contrasted candidates in recent memory.”
Civil rights gains won in the past decade (of which many have been LGBTQ ones) will swiftly be upended in a Romney/Ryan administration.
The Romney/Ryan team wants to “take back the country” to the good old days when Biden inherited the Southern segregationists’ table.