This is My Hometown


Thank you Mayor John Birkner Jr. and the Westwood Borough Council for hanging the pride flag on the borough hall. Reading about the flag raising at njersy.co/westwoodrainbow made me quite emotional. As a kid, I would have never imagined my mostly conservative hometown being so welcoming and inclusive to celebrate gay pride month. Of course back then I had no idea what gay pride was and the rainbow flag—what’s that?

When I came out in the early 90s I didn’t believe that being gay was something to be proud about. Nor was it something to be ashamed of. I still believe this. Being proud of inherent traits like having blue eyes or being left-handed or being gay seems a little silly. For me, pride comes from how you live your life. It’s about having the strength to be honest with yourself and your loved ones, to accept yourself, and to live out and openly with integrity and respect for your fellow human, especially when they didn’t quite understand you, and at a time when the world was a much more hostile place than it is today. 

I applaud my hometown for the message it sends and for making the world more welcoming than it was yesterday.

And…

GO CARDINALS!

Popular Vote Winner’s Commencement Speech

Excerpts:

Now, of course today has some important differences. The advance of technology, the impact of the internet, our fragmented media landscape, make it easier than ever to splinter ourselves into echo chambers. We can shut out contrary voices, avoid ever questioning our basic assumptions. Extreme views are given powerful microphones. Leaders willing to exploit fear and skepticism have tools at their disposal that were unimaginable when I graduated.

Continue reading “Popular Vote Winner’s Commencement Speech”

Grace and Gross at the Grammys

The 59th Annual Grammys Awards are this weekend. Twenty-five years ago, I worked at the 34th Annual Grammys at Radio City Musical Hall. My friend, Christine, a fellow Montclair State alum, asked me, along with a bunch of other recent Communication Studies graduates, to volunteer as a talent escort and seat filler.

On February 25, 1992, we met at Radio City early, received an orientation, a tour of the hall, and our escort assignments. Some of us would escort performers. Some would escort presenters. Performers got dressing rooms. Presenters did not. I didn’t know if my nerves could manage a performer, which that year included Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, Mariah Carey, Luther Vandross, Bonnie Raitt, LL Cool J, Seal, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Johnny Mathis. Continue reading “Grace and Gross at the Grammys”

Obama/Biden

We will miss you. Thank you for serving with such grace and dignity, especially during a time of blatant obstruction and relentless hate. We will never forget our time in the White House. (By the way, I stole some cocktail napkins.)

June 2013: My family and I were President Obama’s guests at the White House.