Keeping Families Together
The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog
March 25, 2011
Have You Seen Our Fabulous Wall of Pride Exhibit?
By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA
It Started With a Few Display Boards
You should come see it, you really should. The Wall of Pride is our most asked for program and we love putting it together. To think, it started as an afterthought to our annual banquet. Each year we organize a Family Presentation Banquet. It is an event where API LGBTs honor those family members who remain loving and caring during and after they came out. The way it works is we ask API LGBTs who want to honor someone to submit a 100-word written testimony plus a color photograph of the persons to be honored. Once submitted, we convert the testimony and photograph to a 20 X 30 inch display board: photograph on top and testimony below as caption. The boards are then prominently displayed during our banquet along with those of previous years. After seven banquets we have 45 boards.
A few years ago, we were invited to set up our booth at a diversity fair. Belinda thought it would be a good idea to bring a few boards and put them on stands in front of the booth to increase visibility and attract people. The result was amazing. People came over, read the text and asked all kinds of questions (at least, those who didn’t recoil once they figured out who we were and what we do. We have had a few of those). The Wall of Pride Exhibit was born. We began showing our boards, all of them or just some of them, in high schools, universities, conferences, workshops, and public places like Oakland’s City Hall. And as the word spread, people began to ask for them.
Then Dreamed to Make It Bigger
For a while we just showed just the boards, but eventually decided to expand the exhibit with other mementos from our banquet. We have photographs, videos, comments written in booklets we leave on tables during the banquet, and, most of all, we have emotional testimony from both the API LGBTs an the people they are honoring. We asked curators questions about how it is done. We went to exhibits to see what we liked. We brainstormed a theme by trying to answer the question: What exactly do we want to accomplish with our exhibit. Our Wall of Pride is a visual communication from API families with LGBT children to the API community and especially those in that community who fear shame and dishonor and so remain silent about their own LGBT children. It’s a shout: “Look! Despite of what you think, you are not alone!” We also want our exhibit to impart to those who view it the indescribable emotions that reign at our banquet. We still need that theme.
Now We’re Working to Make the Dream a Reality
We have some ways to go before our dream for the exhibit becomes reality. It requires more money than we have, but slowly and surely we are getting there. People are donating their time and talents to make it work. In the meantime, we show what we have. From May 2 through 6, our exhibit will be at the University of San Francisco. In return, the people there will design three banners and donate those to us when the exhibit is done. From May 9 to 14, we’ll be at Stanford. Saturday the 14th, though, is special as we are only showing the Philippine portion of our Wall of Pride for the Pilipino Youth Leadership Conference.
If you haven’t yet, come see us. Our website has the exhibit schedule as it unfolds.
Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride apifamilypride.org