Featured Image: Bayard Rustin (from Wikipedia)
Re-Naming Ceremony To Feature Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, Allentown Mayor, and Surviving Partner of Bayard Rustin
ALLENTOWN, PA — Following the City of Allentown’s action to re-name one block of S. Law Street, between Hamilton and Walnut, Bayard Rustin Way, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center is hosting a street re-naming ceremony on Thursday at 2pm featuring Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel L. Levine, Allentown Mayor Ray O’Connell, and surviving partner of the civil rights leader, Walter Naegle. The renamed street is adjacent to Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.
Bayard Rustin Way is just the second street in Allentown named after a non-Allentown resident, the first being Martin Luther King Blvd.Rustin was born in 1912 in West Chester, Pennsylvania and later became one of America’s most important and prominent civil rights leaders. A practitioner of non-violence, Rustin in credited with imparting this value on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., for whom Rustin also served as a senior advisor. Rustin was the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, but was excluded from speaking at the march because he was openly gay. Rustin was also a key figure in the labor movement, including his role as director of AFL-CIOs A. Philip Randolph Institute, which promoted racial integration of labor unions. In the last decade of his life, he because a vocal advocate for the LGBT community, and today is considered to be an important icon for LGBT people of color.
In late 2018, Allentown City Council voted unanimously on a resolution authored by Councilmember Courtney Robinson to rename the street, an ordinance quickly signed by Mayor O’Connell.
“Bayard Rustin is exactly the type of social justice leader we as a community should hold up and educate our community about. He was a fierce leader in the face of incredible adversity, he was a stalwart supporter of values he believed in, and he spoke with a prophetic voice for justice for all – this street renaming is the start, not an end, of our community’s recognition of Rustin’s legacy.” said Adrian Shanker, Executive Director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. The Center is also hosting a free screening of the documentary film, Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin, Thursday evening at 6:30pm, followed by a talkback by Walter Naegle.
About Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center: (www.bradburysullivancenter.org) Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center provides arts, health, youth, and pride programs to strengthen and support the LGBT community across the Greater Lehigh Valley.
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Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center