The Denver Women’s Chorus had planned to present #LoveWins this May. The concert was a celebration of the right to love who we love and in recognition of the Supreme Court decision that legalized marriage for same-sex couples in all 50 states. And then the novel coronavirus changed everything. Unable to rehearse, we have connected with each other online, written letters and postcards, shared photos and recipes and tried to support our members through the new challenges they’ve had to face. But we didn’t want to end our season without music, without connecting with our community, without celebrating Pride.
As I compile the music for our virtual Pride concert Love Still Wins, I’m struck by how much I miss our community. Connecting online has helped, but it’s really nothing like making music together, singing as one voice for a common purpose. Listening to songs we sang back in 2012 and more recently, I’m flooded with memories. Like the time we did a concert honoring the women of country music, or the time we sang at the state capitol for LGBTQ Lobby Day. I see faces of alumni who are dearly missed and singers who found the chorus just last year. This community is made of people of many ages, orientations and genders with so many talents. And they share a willingness to devote their time and energy to being part of something bigger than themselves. This too, is something to be proud of.
In 2020, Pride celebrations will not look like those that came before, but they should remind us of the very reason we have them. In June 1969, a series of riots erupted as the police again raided the Stonewall Inn. That night, the people decided to fight back. They fought for the right to exist, for the right to love, for the right to live without fear. Among them were courageous transgender women of color, who helped lead the movement for LGBTQ+ rights.
Today, as our country mourns the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and too many others, an unprecedented wave of protests has reached every state. As a community of LGBTQ+ people and dedicated allies, we know we owe our rights to those who struggled to win them. In the words of Ella Josephine Baker, “We who believe in freedom cannot rest.” And so we won’t. Though we cannot sing together, or join with you in concert halls, we honor Pride this year with songs from our recent and distant past and we invite you to join us in the celebration and in the struggle.
Love STILL Wins.
Alison Dozier Assistant Director, Denver Women’s Chorus