Harriet Hancock, a retired attorney and co founder of the South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement, is know as the “Mother of Pride in SC.” In 1989 she attended a pride picnic and started gathering names of people who would support a pride march down Main Street in Columbia the following year. She has been an organizer and volunteer with every SC Pride event since 1990. She is a PFLAG mom and strong activist for LGBT rights since 1982 and was instrumental in the founding of many LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations in South Carolina. She currently serves as vice president of the board of the Harriet Hancock Center Foundation.
Jim Blanton is a native of Gaffney, South Carolina, and was a co-founder of the South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement (1989), co-chair of the first SC Pride (1990), and a volunteer producer of Rainbow Radio. Happily retired from SCETV, jb is a proud uncle and, with Ed McClain, co-grandpa of the gorgeous/talented/brilliant six-year-old Miss Lily. In a letter to the media prior to our first Pride March, Barbara Embick and I wrote, “The purpose…is to celebrate lesbian and gay pride, to enlighten the general population with respect to gay and lesbian issues, and to work peacefully to achieve equal protection under the law for all South Carolinians.” Many thanks to our Mother of Pride Harriet Hancock and to everyone who has worked so hard on these lofty goals for the past 25 years. We’re so close, I can taste it!
Barbara Embick is a native of Pennsylvania but believes she was just born in the wrong state. Barbara came to South Carolina to work as a consultant at a local nuclear plant in 1980. While working there, she met many people who had been denied equal protection under the law because they were black. Touched by their stories and involved in political activism since the Vietnam Era, she moved to South Carolina that year hoping to make a change in South Carolina politics. Little did she know that by 1986, she too would become a victim of prejudice based on her sexuality. As a result, this motivated Barbara even more to produce change in South Carolina. The first meeting of what we know today as SC Pride was in Barbara’s backyard on September 24, 1989. Barbara is proud to have been a co-founder of the South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement (1989) and co-chair of the first SC Pride March (GLPM 1990). Barbara is more proud of all of you; the work and commitment to change that each of you have participated in since the first March; the many organizations that exist today in SC that support gay, lesbian, and transgender issues; and all of those that continue to fight and march for equality. Thank you so much, and let us never give up the fight to be equal!
Crystal Moore, Police Chief of Latta, SC, was this year unfairly fired allegedly for being a lesbian. Chief Moore’s story has catapulted SC employment discrimination into national headlines. Moore’s firing made for some sensational headlines, but the real story was how the town rallied behind her. Having served the town of Latta for 20 years, a true testament to her courage as a leader arose when the town showed its support of her as a police chief, a citizen, a person here for her job. Since, she has become an “accidental activist” against LGBT discrimination.
Tracie Goodwin & Katie Bradacs
A year ago these courageous women filed a lawsuit against the state of South Carolina in Federal District Court, seeking an order requiring the state to recognize their legal 2012 marriage in Washington, DC. Joining Warner on their pro bono legal team is John Nichols. Meet the family at The Will of the People tent during Pride festivities.