Susan VonArx has worked in the legal system for almost three decades. But, it's her personal life that puts her here behind the podium during Monday’s gay pride ceremony hosted by the Eighth Judicial District Gender and Racial Fairness Committee.
VonArx is a lesbian, and for her, the Orlando shooting hits close to home. “Because I identify with the community that was targeted, it was personal,” she said.
Vonarx believes gay pride has come a long way in the last 30 years. But events like Sunday’s shooting in a gay nightclub proves there's still a long way to go. “Yesterday was a reminder of how fragile our gains are.”
VonArx was just one of several speakers during the ceremony. It just so happened the committee was holding the event. The ceremony had been planned for months. But given Sunday's attack, it seemed to hold greater significance.
“Every day there is acts of violence and hate crimes against the LGBT community across the state as well as probably across the world. So, we have work to do to try and bring acceptance to people,” said Seventh Judicial District P.I.O. Ronald Pawelczak.
“Once people recognize us as their sons and daughters and friends that things will be different,” added VonArx.