Today our logo on social media channels is changing to our rainbow design on a black background. This logo has been a part of EDMO® for the past five years. Given the events in the last few weeks however, this logo has taken on a new significance. While it retains the black circle of the black & white logo that shows our solidarity with Black Lives Matter, it also includes our unique rainbow design that represents our solidarity with the LGBTQ community and our belief in the equality of love.
This rainbow version of our logo is particularly personal to me as the Co-Founder of Edventure More and a member of the LGBTQ community myself. My coming out process was long, often painful and ongoing (coming out never ends). The biggest turning point was when I moved to San Francisco and co-founded EDMO in January of 2004 with my good friend, Eduardo Caballero. From the very beginning Eduardo was my ally and advocate, regularly calming my internalized homophobia. I told him my fear that parents might not want to send their kids to our camp because I am gay. He simply responded, “If that’s the reason why they don’t want to come to our camp, then we don’t want them here.”
Then, that very first summer of camp, one of my more pivotal life moments happened. A group of 4-5 campers, none older than 10, started telling stories about their families. One camper shared about her mom and dad, another said he didn’t have a dad and one shared that she had two moms. I was mentally gearing up to protect the camper with two moms. I was convinced she’d be teased, laughed at or taunted but to my pleasant surprise, she was met with the same curiosity and love as the other kids. It was almost like the Universe was saying, “Psst, Sharon! Pay attention. We have a message for you.”
Now, 30 years after I first came out, I am in awe of the societal changes I’ve seen. I can marry. I no longer change the pronouns of my partner. I am protected against discrimination. I have survivor rights and medical rights. I am entitled by law to all the same rights that a heterosexual couples get by default. These are huge strides, but it’s not complete. We are not done. Many of the successes of the LGBTQ movement are unfortunately enjoyed mainly by the white, affluent LGBTQ folks. There are still LGBTQ people who are disowned from their families and churches, or abused verbally and physically or ousted from their communities. LGBTQ people of color not only navigate their sexuality, but are simultaneously marginalized and disenfranchised solely based on race.
The rainbow flag recognizes, acknowledges and celebrates our differences while demanding our right to liberty, justice and love. Today, 400 years after the first African slaves were brought to North America, we are coming to terms with the inherent racism in our society. The truth is, all of us are NOT granted what is promised by the constitution. This is what our rainbow and black EDMO logo represents. It represents our pledge to make EDMO a platform to actively fight implicit bias, racism, white supremacy, privilege as well as homophobia, sexism, classism and xenophobia. It’s our pledge to create brave spaces for real conversation and connection to happen. It’s our pledge to be a force for everything that the rainbow, the color black, and our country stands for: equity, justice, liberty and love for all.