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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Basic Rights Oregon Discontinues Strut

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Basic Rights Oregon's big annual fashion show fundraiser Strut would have seen its fifth year in 2010, but according to this statement from organizer Jonny Shultz, it is no more. (For those of you who do not recall, he references his longtime partner Dan Callaway, who died in 2007.) According to Shultz, BRO "can’t hold the costs in their budget and need to focus their time energy and money on the upcoming 2012 ballot measure push for gay marriage." His statement:

Almost 5 years ago 2 beautiful, smiling women with an idea walked into my office and asked for me. They wanted to create a fashion show to benefit Basic Rights Oregon, but had no idea on how to accomplish that. We had several meetings and planned the first Strut fashion show. They put a lot of faith in me without really knowing me at all. Together we created something bigger than I think they could have imagined. We created Strut, a successful fashion show that showcased local design talent, and models (all local, all sizes, all ages, and all ethnicities). Strut quickly became the favorite fashion show of Portland because it was well organized, professional, and high energy. Every year Strut got bigger and better and so much more fun, not only for the audience but for those of us who produced it. When Dan was murdered, I wasn’t sure if I could continue, but the support that all of you showed me through the toughest time in my life, dedicated me to the cause. 6 months to the day after Dan was taken we held the 3rd Strut and B.R.O. lovingly dedicated it to him. I will forever be grateful for that. When Jeana and Sam walked into my office that day 5 years ago and brought up their idea, I talked with Dan that night as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take on such a large project on top of my day job at Q6 and on top of my clothing design business. Dan convinced me to do it, he had a great way of looking at opportunities when they arose, and he fully supported me throughout the process. I considered the first two years Strut an official success once I did the final walk down the runway to see him holding flowers for me. When Strut began, I did it to make him proud (and he was very proud). After his death I continued; to make you all proud, to make him proud, and to help the push for marriage equality in the best way I knew how with the talents that I have. Dan and I never got to have our wedding day, but someday it will be possible for us all thanks to the work of Basic Rights Oregon.

With all that being said, and with BRO’s stance on Strut this year (needing to focus their time and energy on upcoming ballot measures), it is time to say goodbye to our creation. I am immensely proud of what we created, and i thank you all for your support throughout the years.

I am reminded of last night's New Oregon Interview on fashion, during which Adam Arnold described his view of fashion shows as a gathering of his extended family. I think one can draw the same comparison with Strut, where people in and out of the industry came together out of mutual support and admiration. I'm sorry to see it go.

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