Our very own Reid Vanderburgh! SAGE Metro Portland honored Reid at a virtual reception on June 25, recognizing his contributions to queer community over his 40+ years living in Portland. Reid had this to say in his acceptance speech:
“When I received word about this award coming my way, I wondered what to say in this acceptance speech. Yes, I’ve done a lot, participated in many ways, in support of various LGBT+ organizations. And to make a list felt like bragging. It occurred to me, what am I really being recognized for? Not for any one specific thing, not for participating in a particular organization. No, this award honors me for the effect I’ve had on my community.
I sing in the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus. A few years ago, we sang a song titled “Nia,” honoring one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa: purpose in life. Author Maulana Karenga has written extensively about Kwanzaa, and describes Nia as encompassing four values: we have a “collective vocation”; that we are the “heirs and custodians of a great legacy”; we have a “generational responsibility”; and we “join personal and social purpose.” Every day, I strive to honor the principles of Nia, my purpose in life. And always, that purpose is based in fulfilling my role as a bridge-builder, an educator, an advocate.
I was driving around town the other day, seeing many Pride flags in various businesses and hanging from porches. It reminded me I haven’t yet hung my own flag out there. Then I realized that another way to look on this kind of award is that I live the flag every time I do something on behalf of anything LGBT+. If I distill my life philosophy to a single phrase, it would be: one for all, all for one. I am one person, doing what I can as I can, on behalf of all of us. Thank you.”