Our choice for news of the year should be no surprise since it has taken more column inches in this paper than any other story. Mazzoni Center seems to have gone from one turmoil to another. That story didn’t start this year, but this year saw continual upheavals, staff changes, resignation of board members and its new executive director quitting.
This paper has followed all those changes as we have other continuing issues in our community such as the still-mysterious death of Nizah Morris. That is our job; to cover and give the community the opportunity to understand the issue, then give our community the opportunity to give their views and discuss as we open our pages for your views in our Letters to the Editor or op-eds.
The Mazzoni saga will continue. It is an important part of this community and must find solutions so that we once again can take pride in an institution built out of an oppression where mainstream health systems refused to treat us with respect, or turned us away or, even worse, didn’t understand our health needs. All of that is still true in parts of this geographic area. That is why Mazzoni Center is needed, and must remain as a cherished community organization.
Our people of the year all have something in common. They are mostly young, but in that short time, they have worked diligently for change: The first out person of color to be elected to the state House; a person who created a state network of LGBTQ organizations in colleges and universities throughout the state, then spent hundreds of hours researching past history to lobby almost single-handedly the governor’s office to create the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBT Affairs; a man who took a small New Jersey town and made it one of two in all New Jersey to be at the top of HRC’s municipal index (Atlantic City being the other, thanks to the Atlantic City’s out mayor, Don Guardian, and the Atlantic City LGBT Alliance); and Tatyana Woodard, who represents what the future of Mazzoni can look like.
They are leaders and role models and we congratulate them on bringing progress to our community in a time of crisis. Rather than just complaining, they acted. They didn’t just talk the talk, they walked the walk.