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Rockland Groups Help Some Cope With Presidential Election Results

Phyllis B. Frank addresses the crowds in Nyack on June 12 during Pride Weekend.
Phyllis B. Frank addresses the crowds in Nyack on June 12 during Pride Weekend. Photo Credit: A. Roufa, Photo Doctor

Rockland organizations and businesses are helping people cope with the results of the presidential election through healing events.

The first such event took place Wednesday evening at Grace Episcopal Church in Nyack and a second one will be hosted Thursday night by Rockland County Pride Center at the Nyack Center, a sister organization.

The idea for the forum held by Grace Episcopal came up in conversation with the congregation and the community in order to share what was on each other’s minds and hearts, whether those emotions were joy or disappointment, said Father Owen Thompson.

“It was just an open call for anyone who wanted to come in and just take a moment,” he said.

Roughly 40 people attended and expressed sentiments of sorrow, anger, hopelessness, and some pragmatism to try and figure out how to move forward as a unified people.

“The church’s role is to be a beacon of light and a haven of healing for all people,” Thompson said. The goal was for people to come together under one roof with common purpose to heal, regardless of where they have been. “If we’re all experiencing a bit of a storm, and you have an umbrella, you open it.”

Meanwhile priority will be given to LGBTQ and people of color to share their thoughts on Thursday night, said Diana Wilkins, Deputy Director of Rockland County Pride Center. However, all are invited to attend.

Post-election, RCPC Executive Director Brooke Malloy and Wilkins came together and decided that they needed to respond and offer a place for togetherness.

“Oftentimes in the world that we live in, straight people and white people have already been given that space to speak. We often overshadow marginalized people,” Wilkins said.

People are anxious within the LGBTQ community and harbor concerns that the Marriage Equality Act could be in danger due to a potentially conservative appointment to the Supreme Court by President-elect Donald Trump. That, coupled with Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s support of conversion therapy, gives the community cause for concern, Wilkins said.

“When you put a message like that out to the public and say you’re going to make it a priority, it frightens us.”

Regardless of the election results, Wilkins said Rockland Pride Center will continue to do work for the LGBTQ people in the county as best as they can, and will continue hold each other up, fight for equality and justice for all with no exception.

In addition, the Wisdom of Wellness Center in New City is offering Skype sessions on Friday for those who need support.

For more information on the Rockland County Pride Center's Community Speak Out, click here.

For more information on the Wisdom of Wellness Center, click here.

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