E Pluribus Unum. It's just three simple Latin words. Three words, just thirteen letters, simply translated into every language across the globe into a simple sentence: out of many, one.
This is the motto of the country we love. Its meaning is myriad-- the thirteen letters of the original Latin are said to represent the thirteen colonies that banded together to form our nation on the basis of representative government. The statement itself represents those colonies and the ensuing fifty states. But it touches on something deeper, and speaks directly about the American people, those who have fought to broaden America's promise of democracy and hope to all. It speaks of a people who came to our teeming shores to live a better life from every corner of the earth. It speaks of those who have laid down roots here, to praise the God they worship, to live in a free democratic society, and those who live and love in so many different ways.
This motto has been and always will be the beacon of hope. The principle of our national motto is a legacy from our founders, and those who advocated, sacrificed, and bled to expand its meaning to truly represent all in our country.
Yet while the meaning of these words is cherished and handed down generation to generation, its life in our society is not. Our country and our society don't shape themselves just because of three simple words. Like everything in our country, realizing our hopes and dreams for a just and fair society means work and perseverance.
Our country was formed in part to create a representative government that reflected the will of those who held voting power. In the 1770s and 1780s, thirteen colonies representing patriots beyond count formed one-- the United States-- out of many. Yet our progress was imperfect. People were held in bondage for forced labor within our borders as slaves, and a caste system based on skin color was enshrined in law. Women's rights were not discussed. Our progress was imperfect, but many fought on for change.
In 1848 in upstate New York many women came together to discuss the status of women in society and government. They became one, forming a feminist movement that has grown and still fights for us today, persevering through setbacks and celebrating historic achievements. Across generations, many women came together and fought as one. They knew that government wouldn't hand anything to them. They would have to persevere and seek out those who would empower them and encourage them. In the 20th Century, many thousands came together to end segregation in America: to fight racial injustice, institutional racism, and prejudice. The work of many coming together for one-- our country-- was immense. Some people bled. Others were killed, many were threatened. But those many who believed in social justice and equality stood with luminaries in the Civil Rights Movement because rights aren't handed down by the government. They are created by the many who come together as one. While the work of the feminist movement and of the civil rights movement is celebrated today—the work itself endures. There are still goals to achieve and historic wrongs to right.
In 1969 in New York City LGBTQ people stood up against being targeted by police, accelerating our modern movement. Their stories were just as numerous as they were. They were trans. They were gay. They were lesbians. They were queer. They were many, and now today because of work, our movement is a singular voice for equality.
LGBTQ identities cut across every demographic. They are seen in every house of worship. They are known to every town, region, and country and are of every skin color and cultural identity. In our country, there are millions of LGBTQ people of every walk of life. We are many, but we come together as one.
Triangle Community Center will be your voice. How can our agency not play that role? Every day, we welcome dozens of visitors for programs who seek peer support or social connection. Each year to Pride in the Park, we see thousands of people—families, young adults, those who are young at heart, people from every pocket of Connecticut and our region. At all of our programs and events, you turn out. Each of you represents your own story as an LGBTQ person or ally. We’re here to amplify your voices and to lift you up. We’re here to stand with you and to build a broad set of coalitions that will fight for you every day at the state, regional, and national levels. We’re here to connect you with services that will love and affirm you—to give you housing when you’re in crisis, to give you food when groceries are just too expensive.
We’re here for just one reason: you.
You have a story and you have a voice. When you stand with us, we become one: a powerful voice for community and for change.
We are proud to serve as your community center. We are even prouder to be part of the same community as you. History calls us now and will challenge our movement and our community. We must stick to the highest calling of our national motto; protect those who are vulnerable, and work together with all who would stand for equality.
It is our honor to serve you. It is our passion to fight for you. A great many are stepping up to protect your rights. Count us among them. We are many and we are one.