Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Boomtown Raises Local Awareness

by ENC intern Graham Hunter

Last Friday, Chapel Hill students came together to show their support for LGBT rights in the first ever Boomtown showcase. The rock and hip-hop concert, organized by college students Alison Bryan and Jonathan Gedney, was designed to spread awareness of important social issues (this year’s theme being LGBT rights) as well as promote local musical talent. Ticket sales from the concert were donated to Equality NC and Lambda Legal.

Approximately sixty individuals came out for the event, which stayed strong into the night despite some ominous lightning and hints of rain.

In addition to fund-raising, the event provided a wonderful opportunity to spread the good word about Equality NC and its efforts with the School Violence Prevention Act. Many of the people that we met had never heard of Equality NC but were very supportive to our cause. A few individuals were shocked that North Carolina did not already have such anti-bullying legislation on the books, which only goes to show the greater need for visibility and information. At the end of the night, we had a few more postcards to add to our already expansive number and hopefully a few more allies.

The Boomtown showcase was a venue by the youth, for the youth. The most rewarding part of the night was to see youth actively confronting social problems and working toward greater understanding and equality. The notion of “change” (like its conservative cousin, “maverick”) may be a hackneyed phrase by now, but I have to believe that its frequent use only highlights its necessity.

As the struggle for LGBT rights extends into the coming years, today’s youth must be willing to take up the mantle of their forebearers. The fight for tomorrow’s change starts today. Boomtown showed that a growing number of youth are becoming more involved in LGBT issues and are willing to fight for that change.

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