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  • Meghna Shetty

Employee Spotlight: David Davies

Employee Spotlight David Davies, GA’s Mobile Fundraising Manager is known around the office for his love of the Florida Panthers, the Star Wars franchise, and at happy hours — a delightful gin & tonic. I had the pleasure of sitting down with David right before the start of Pride Month and I started by asking what Pride Month means to him. “Pride is a time to not only celebrate who I am and the community that I’m a part of, but also to reflect on where we are, where we were, and where we’re going,” he began. Within the joy and celebration of the month, David values, “taking time to think about how people before us couldn’t do this. Pride parades used to be protests and we have to remember that.” Recalling his first Pride parade in Manhattan in 2016, just two weeks after the devastating Pulse Club shooting, David describes the atmosphere as a defiant act of unity. "Lower Manhattan was a big party," he reminisces. "Coming together with hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ+ individuals and allies was powerful…They tried to take us down and we weren’t going away.” Each year during Pride Month, Davies works to re-center himself by, “embracing relatable content like reading a book that’s LGBTQ+ focused or watching relevant shows and movies.” This annual ritual reminds him the recency of advancements in LGBTQ+ rights, noting that federal recognition of same-sex marriage only came in 2015 and sodomy laws were struck down just 20 years ago. While Pride is a time for celebration, there is still much work to be done. David’s first major political involvement in LGBTQ+ issues was when he worked for Philip Levine in 2018 who was running to be Florida’s Governor. As a Field Organizer, David was assigned to Wilton Manors, a community known for its large number of LGBTQ+ residents. As a young staffer, “it was important to work for a campaign that was unabashedly pro-LGBTQ+ rights, not just in policy, but with actions as well.” Improving Allyship For other LGBTQ+ individuals seeking involvement in progressive causes, David advises, "Be unabashedly yourself and seek out spaces where you can be true to who you are. Find mentors who understand the unique challenges you face due to your identity." When prompted on how Democrats and the progressive movement can better support the LGBTQ+ community, David offered some insight. He said the party should, “look to leaders like Nancy Pelosi who used her first House floor speech to talk about the HIV/AIDs epidemic.” To ensure LGBTQ+ rights, the party needs to draw hard lines on LGBTQ+ issues and not take advantage of the general support of LGBTQ+ voices. Especially now, the party must, “stand up for trans people because their very existence is being denied.” Turning the spotlight to allies, David offers guidance on how they can better support the LGBTQ+ community. He asks folks to advocate in spaces only you can, protest harmful legislation before it becomes harmful legislation, and give space to the community- especially the trans community. While folks throw their dollars to LGBTQ+ businesses during Pride Month, David encourages folks to year-round, “support queer businesses, actively dispel stereotypes, and respect LGBTQ+ spaces.” The Future The conversation shifted to David’s hopes and aspirations for the future of LGBTQ+ rights and representation in society. He says, “I would love to see a world in which the Equality Act is law, where people in the community don’t need to worry about not receiving gender-affirming care, or worry about being kicked out of their house or losing their job” When thinking about the hate right now in the world, David recognizes that hate and bigotry will never go away, but he hopes someday the things being discussed and passed in state legislatures will be completely unacceptable in society. David stresses the significance of representation, pointing to more recent figures such as Laverne Cox, Secretary Buttigieg, and RuPaul. He celebrates Sasha Colby as a groundbreaking figure, being the first openly trans woman of color to win RuPaul’s Drag Race. According to David, this achievement holds tremendous importance and inspires hope for a future where, “individuals of diverse identities can attain success, both in everyday life, on television, and hopefully even in the highest office of the United States.” Words of Wisdom When asked to offer advice to young individuals in the LGBTQ+ community who may be struggling, David shared reassurance. "Though it may sound cliché, it does get better. Tough times won't last forever. Wherever you go and whatever you do, remember that you will find a community that supports and embraces you." As the interview drew to a close, David shared two quotes that resonate with him. Harvey Milk's defiant words, "If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet also destroy every closet door," encapsulate the resilience and determination of the LGBTQ+ community. David notes that today people say, “‘if I die in a mass shooting, leave my body at the door of the NRA,’ and it’s awful we have to think like that, but it’s a way to say if you think you’ll destroy us, you never will and that’s powerful.” Of course, the interview wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a Star Wars quote David carries with him from the late Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia): "Don't ever be afraid of who you are." For David, this quote serves as a reminder to accept and embrace one's true self, offering encouragement to others, “When you’re young and questioning, it's a reminder to not be afraid of who you are, accept who you are.” Want your own spotlight or do you know someone we should feature? Email morgan@grassrootsanalytics.comSHARE

Published by Morgan Kull June 1, 2023

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