Harnessing Love’s Power
to Stop Oppression


Who will you honor for their courageous love?

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Dec 22, 2010

The message below went out to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. Sign-up for these emails here.

Dan Furmansky is Campaign Manager of the Standing on the Side of Love Campaign.

Last year, Standing on the Side of Love re-imagined Valentine’s Day as National Standing on the Side of Love Day — a holiday of love and acceptance for everyone. Together, we brought our campaign to life, and we found creative ways to stand on the side of love with those who are all too often marginalized as “the other” in society.

National Standing on the Side of Love Day is a chance to uplift others; strengthen and support local partnerships; and join together, in joy and in purpose, with those who support the universal values of love and acceptance for all people.

This coming Valentine’s Day 2011 — our 2nd Annual “National Standing on the Side of Love Day” – the Standing on the Side of Love campaign wants to take the opportunity to recognize the courageous love in our lives and in our communities.

Click here to learn more about National Standing on the Side of Love Day 2011, and how you can take part.

Bernice Melov

Bernice Melov, 92, passed away last weekend. This National Standing on the Side of Love Day, honor Bernice and other unsung heroes for their courageous love.

As I sat down to write you this message, an email came through to me from my friend, Steve Melov, letting me know that his mother, Bernice, passed away at the age of 92. I cried upon hearing the news. Bernice was a very special woman, and I adored her. She was also the embodiment of courageous love.

Throughout her 70’s and 80’s, Bernice Melov witnessed, learned, taught and mentored as a national office volunteer for Parents, Friends & Families of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). Later on, Bernice and Steve were super-volunteers at Equality Maryland, the state’s LGBT civil rights group. When I served as Executive Director of the organization, Bernice showed up in the office week after week to help with whatever was most needed.

Every year, Bernice would join us in Annapolis to testify before the Maryland legislature for marriage equality. A 90-year-old woman in a wheelchair is someone who automatically commands the ears of those around her, and Bernice more than deserved the deferential attention. She spoke with great conviction, wisdom, heart, and maternal love.

Bernice Melov was an ordinary person who used her extraordinary power to shine the light on injustice. Through her words and deeds, she reached beyond her immediate circle, and even beyond her own comfort zone, to create societal change. She exemplified the values of inclusion, diversity, community, and equality. This is the courageous love that we should seek to uplift this coming National Standing on the Side of Love Day.

All around us, there are Bernice Melovs who embody courageous love. They fight to bring their same-sex boyfriend or girlfriend to their prom. They risk deportation to come out as undocumented and push for the DREAM Act. They are administrators and teachers who advocate zero tolerance policies around bullying. And they are citizens who actively and passionately engage in poll watching to ensure minority voting rights.

Indeed, the list of unsung heroes who embody courageous love is long.

On Valentine’s Day 2011, Bernice Melov will be at the forefront of my mind, and I will find ways to honor her for her courageous love. This National Standing on the Side of Love Day, who do you want to honor for their courageous love?

Click here to learn more about National Standing on the Side of Love Day 2011, and how you can shine the spotlight on courageous love.

Wishing you health, happiness, and bountiful love during this holiday season and New Year,

Dan Furmansky
Campaign Manager
Standing on the Side of Love

2 Responses to “Who will you honor for their courageous love?”

  1. Donna Sequeira says:


    Thank you for your email/post. It is amazing sometimes how one person can touch so many lives. Miss Bernice, as I called her, volunteered during my time as staff at the PFLAG national office and she was a gift. She offered grace when many in my own family rejected me and I remember so much laughter with her. She shared her Jewish culture with me and taught me much about looking at my own assumptions … in many ways she taught me to look beyond what I think I know but always with grace and gentleness.

    I was once telling Miss Bernice about the number of gifts we received at PFLAG for $18 and she explained to me that in Hebrew the symbol for both 18 and good luck is the same (chai) so these gifts were more than just money … they were hopes or prayers for something more than the money itself. It was then that I learned how fundraising is about more than the giving and receiving of money … it is about our stories of connection to an organization and about our own values and hopes. So, I am sending in an $18 gift in memory of Miss Bernice … offering a few dollars but even more the hope and prayer that much life will be saved by the efforts of SSL.

    I am saddened to hear of Miss Bernice’s passing but her legacy lives on … a testament to what it means to be wise, what grace looks like and what love really requires. Thank you for sharing her story.

    May be all be exemplars of courageous love!


  2. penny shapiro says:

    Bernice Melov was my cousin. I hadn’t been in touch with her for more years than I want to admit, although I can honestly say that my thoughts of her through the years were filled with fun memories. Ironically we both go by our middle names, we both carried a fan in our “pocketbooks”, and we both believe strongly in equality! How sad that we didn’t share these similarities while she was alive. I will always think of her with a smile and will always feel grateful that a woman with such an open mind and heart full of grace was a part of my family. Thank you for sharing her story.

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