Since 2008, the Taproot Foundation has been proud to celebrate a holiday we call Matt O’Grady Day. Matt O’Grady Day commemorates the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States by celebrating the wedding anniversary of long-time Taproot staff member Matt O’Grady to his husband Steve Van Landingham.
On June 19, 2008, Matt and Steve got married at San Francisco’s City Hall, with over 100 friends and family celebrating alongside them. Also in attendance – everyone in the Taproot Foundation’s San Francisco office, where Matt was Vice President of National Expansion.
Aaron Hurst, Taproot’s Founder, celebrated the momentous day by giving Taproot staff a paid holiday off to commemorate Matt O’Grady’s marriage:
From this year forward, we will close our offices on June 19th every year to celebrate the wedding anniversary of Matt O’Grady – and more importantly to celebrate a major milestone in the civil rights movement in this country: the legalization of gay marriage in the largest state in the land. – Aaron Hurst, Taproot Foundation’s founder
Matt O’Grady Day’s Lasting Impact
For an organization seeking societal change, this was a monumental occasion and an opportunity to shape Taproot’s culture for the future. Every year, Taproot celebrates Matt’s anniversary, as his marriage represents a step forward in the long fight for civil rights for the LGBTQ+ community.
Matt O’Grady Day isn’t so much about me as it is about the monumental step forward society took in that amazing, unlikely, dizzying series of events. In less time than it takes some couples to fall in love and get married, American society has progressed from treating relationships like Steve’s and mine as felonious to fully recognized nationwide. The long arc of history does bend toward justice. Matt O’Grady Day is a celebration of this advance, and a celebration of what it means to be a Root. – Matt O’Grady, former Taproot executive
Matt was a pioneer, but marking this day is about more than just Matt and Steve’s marriage – it’s about justice, civil rights, and celebrating the victories made in the continued fight for LGBTQ+ rights. We take this day to honor the struggles to date, appreciate the victories, and recommit ourselves to the work that lies ahead.
Why Change the Date?
Taproot originally marked the occasion of Matt O’Grady Day on his wedding anniversary, June 19. But well before June 19 became an important day in Taproot’s history, it was already an important day in the history of our country; Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. To make space to more fully recognize Juneteenth on June 19, in 2020 Taproot moved Matt O’Grady Day to June 26, the day the Supreme Court handed down their 5-4 opinion in favor of marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges.
Matt O’Grady Day is both a celebration of the civil rights that activists have won and protected, and a day of service, engagement, learning, and reflection on how we can do better. We are taking this opportunity to pause and take time to recognize social justice milestones and the crusaders paving the way to a more equitable world. – Lindsay Firestone Gruber, Taproot Foundation’s President & CEO
Want to support the LGBTQ+ community?
Here are some LGBTQ+ Nonprofits You Can Volunteer with Right Now through Taproot Plus:
- KARA (Kids At Risk Action) serves populations of at-risk youth, including LGBTQ+ youth, youth who are experiencing homelessness, and youth who are adopted or have been in the foster-care system. KARA is looking for a skilled professional to help them make better use of their Google AdWords grant.
- The Urban Justice Center is looking for assistance with staff development – specifically how to best attract exciting candidates for a new position, Project Director for its LGBTQ youth project. The Urban Justice Center is dedicated to incubating groundbreaking new projects that tackle social justice longstanding issues.
- A.B.O. Comix is a collective of creators and activists working to amplify the voices of LGBTQ prisoners by publishing their creative content. A.B.O. Comix is currently working to grow their team in a sustainable and scalable way and is looking for help with business planning and development.
- Free2Luv is a youth empowerment organization dedicated to spreading kindness and preventing bullying through arts, entertainment, and bringing community together. Free2Luv provides resources and content on individuality, mental health and suicide prevention, and LGBTQ issues to empower youth. Free2Luv has two open projects for which they are seeking support:
- SEO Optimization: Free2Luv needs assistance growing organic traffic to their website. They are looking for support analyzing and optimizing their Google AdWords, as well as assistance with setting up Google My Business.
- Corporate Partnership Support: Free2Luv has partnered with several major corporations in the past to increase awareness of their work and its impact. They are currently seeking support to help them connect with potential corporate partners to further broaden their audience and create change around the bullying epidemic.