There were several hundred people at the event, which featured a silent auction, awards presentation, performances by the Magic City Choral Society, a scrumptious meal and dessert and of course, the address by Congressman Lewis.
Seated at our table were Birmingham School Board candidate Elisa Burns-Macon and her partner Donna, congressional candidate Terry Sewell and two of her campaign staff members, Alabama Stonewall Democrats president John Smallwood and Congressman Lewis's driver. Pretty good company, huh?
Decor was provided by Confero Productions. Thank you Christopher.
You can view the video of Congressman Lewis's speech here. The speech is about 18 minutes long. Thanks Pam for sharing this.
He began the speech by reflecting on raising chickens as a child, and how he used to practice preaching to the chickens. Some would bow their heads, he said, some would shake their heads, but they never quite said "Amen."
"But I am convinced that some of those chickens that I preached to in the 40's and the 50's tended to listen to me much better than some of my colleagues listen to me today in Congress. As a matter of fact, some of those chickens were a little more productive."
He want on to recount some of his experiences as a Freedom Rider and his thoughts as he sat and watched Barack Obama's inauguration. John Lewis was the first person Obama greeted as he came out of the Capitol that day, and he asked for Lewis's prayers. Lewis assured him.
He urged the LGBT community, just as Martin Luther King urged the black community in 1963, that "You cannot wait, you cannot be patient. You want your freedom and you want it now."
"Discrimination is discrimination. No government, be it federal or state, should tell a person who they can marry or who they cannot marry. People have a right to fall in love and get married."
"I do not understand. Two men, two women, fall in love and get married. Whose marriage is being threatened?"
He compared the fight for same sex marriage to the fight for interracial marriage.
Some day we will look back and laugh at ourselves, he said. "The stars didn't fall over Alabama because people fell in love and got married."
Thanks, Equality Alabama, for hosting this event. Like the congressman said, we will change the south, we will change America, and the country will be a better country.