Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. John 1:4-8
Connie Florez is the founder and CEO of Hula Girl Productions and the director/producer of several award-winning films that perpetuate the stories of the past through the digital technology of the present. http://www.hulagirlproductions.com/
Yesterday she told her own story in under two minutes, in person. The cameras in the State Capitol auditorium were trained on her as she stood at the podium to testify in front of the Hawaii House Judiciary Committee in support of civil unions legislation.
She spoke with love and pride about the diversity of her inclusive extended family, of growing up in Hilo and going to St.Joseph’s.
She spoke of her gay brother, his long committed relationship with his partner and their four successful children, three college-educated, one in the military.
She spoke of being an Aunty to 26 nieces and nephews.
She spoke of family gatherings where all were welcome, whatever their ethnic heritage or their sexual orientation.
She spoke of how she and her sister cared for their mother in her final years before she died.
Her voice was heard in an auditorium where other voices were also raised by those who would perpetuate the past by preserving old prejudices and sustaining old inequalities.
To those who would deny LGBT families equal rights under the law, Connie said: “Let love prevail. “
She spoke of the Catholic values she was raised with, many of which she still holds dear. But holding up her mother’s wedding ring, she said: “My mother also hoped I would someday be able to use this. To have what she had had.”
In supporting civil unions in Hawaii, Connie Florez asked for nothing more than what anyone hopes for: “To love the one you are with.”
Hawaii legislators appear ready to listen to what she and other advocates had to say. The civil unions bill has passed its second reading in the Hawaii House of Representatives and has been tabled for a third reading, expected this Friday.
Go to http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2011/members/house/housemembers.aspx
for names and email addresses of your Representatives and tell them to let love –and justice–prevail.
Thanks for this wonderful tribute to a kama aina family that embraces everyone in the family. I’ve known Connie Florez for many years and watched her testify in multiple hearings on LGBT rights at the Hawai’i’ legislature. Often when there were few other local folks there, Connie could be counted on to tell her story. Her films and film programming have made an enormous difference in the LGBT and beyond communities in Hawai’i.
What a great story. Connie has been a real leader throughout the struggle for LGBT equality. She has shown great courage, coming out and talking openly about being gay before “Ellen,” “The L Word” and “Glee.”
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