A warm welcome was shown to those gathered Friday evening at the 24th annual PFLAG Las Cruces Fundraiser. The First Christian Church table was packed! It was a fun and informative evening. We learned that old wrongs can be righted and when it comes to the LBGTQ community where much of that work is being done by PFLAG to support, care for and nurture everyone in the LBGTQ community including friends and family – and especially the youth population.
We saw a video called “Love Calls Back” sponsored by PFLAG and Verizon. The film shows a few young people who, when they revealed their sexuality to a parent, had been thrown out of their homes. It was very hard for us to hear their stories, but also so important for us to hear them. Many of those featured had been out of the home for about five years. The parents also told their story of why they removed their child from the home. It was a very tender moment to watch parent and child on one of the most important phone calls of their lives as they began the process to reconnect.
We also learned that PFLAG Denver, Boston, and LAS CRUCES were three chapters on a national level that won the National Chapter Award. Las Cruces won because of its work with the Rainbow Refugee Program of which we were involved with last year. PFLAG National will be using the Las Cruces model to work with LGBTQ youth seeking asylum in the United States in the future. What and honor.
We learned of the scholarship programs for individuals, and awards were also given to three community programs with Mesilla Valley Community of Hope receiving the top award for their work with homelessness in the area, and especially homeless LGBTQ youth. A Safe Space Fund was introduced to help defray costs with the goal of keeping youth off the street. I left the event at this time but learned that there was a pie auction that I understand brought in $1000 in bidding. There was a silent auction and a raffle. All good. Even though we know that harm was done, and that can’t be erased, we also know that it can be turned around when we do the right thing.
Appreciative thank to Ryan Steinmetz, President, PFLAG Las Cruces, and crew for hosting such a successful event.