It’s a sometimes dreaded, but always rewarding task that comes around annually for journalists and newspaper editors the world over — the year-end review of the preceding 52 weeks’ worth of top stories and shenanigans. Dreaded because it’s a large, complex and time-consuming undertaking. Rewarding, of course, because of all the great stories once reported and discovered again since being long forgotten. Obviously, no one forgets the really big news, but there’s often a warm and fuzzy feeling when you read back over a smaller, less-noticed piece reported sometime in the year.
So it is with this issue — our annual year-in-review tracks our community’s biggest breakthroughs, losses, accomplishments and defeats. You might remember some of the more high-profile stories, too. We hope you also get that nostalgic feeling for some of the stories you might have put out of your mind.
Our community had plenty to rejoice over this year. On a national level, state level and here at home in Charlotte, LGBT citizens and residents shaped their own world. On a national level, the community celebrated the full repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’ Tell” policy. Statewide, we banded together to challenge efforts to write discrimination into our constitution. On a local level, we celebrated our largest Pride Charlotte Festival ever and the election of Charlotte’s first openly gay or lesbian officeholder.
Despite the litany of successes, our community experienced loss. No year-end wrap up would be complete without pausing in remembrance of those friends, family and loved ones who passed this year.
Among them was Pamela Jones, a former member of the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte Board of Directors and a co-founder of the Charlotte Gender Alliance. Pamela’s efforts to work for equality and inclusion were chronicled here in qnotes on several occasions. We enjoyed talking to her and we’ll always hold a special place in our heart for her and the good work she did for others.
The same is true for Ted Messner, a longtime community leader and treasurer for the Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee (MeckPAC). Often working in the background, Ted helped to shape and mold MeckPAC’s mission and message, ensuring that pro-LGBT candidates for city council and county commission made their way into elected office. The hard work he engaged in certainly helped pave the way for people like newly-elected City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield and efforts by citizens and activists to make Charlotte the truly world-class and inclusive city we all know it should be.
Last, but not least, we remember Nan Robinson, a dedicated supporter and volunteer of the LGBT Community Center. She worked diligently with the group’s programs committee and helped produce their GayCharlotte Film Festival, helping to make a place for LGBT-friendly film and arts in the Queen City.
The passing of these leaders leaves a hole in our community. Each made their mark. Each made a difference. And, all of us have been made better by their passion and zeal for life and liberty.
It is sad that life must include so many highs and so many lows. But, in pausing to reflect on their work and their lives, we feel love and remembrance, gratitude and humility.
Should old acquaintance be forgot? No. Never. Pamela, Ted and Nan will live on in each of the lives they touched. As this year ends and this chapter of our own lives comes to an end, we look back and wish them luck and grace in whatever next steps await them in their journey into eternity. : :