The story and wisdom of the man who organized the Black Cat protest 50 years ago -- Alexei Romanoff -- is told in an inspiring new video from Lyft.
The ride-sharing service, which made headlines for donating $1 million to the ACLU shortly after President Trump attempted to implement his Muslim travel ban, said it wants "to celebrate the impact of meaningful action." The ad, a short film, is called "Silver Lake Out Loud" as a reference to the Los Angeles neighborhood where the protest happened. The protest came two years before Stonewall and was also a reaction to police brutality.
The Advocate's history is forever linked with the Black Cat protest. The protest movement started a newsletter so activists could keep in touch, and that newsletter would evolve in 1967 into what was first called "The Los Angeles Advocate." The national LGBT magazine, The Advocate, celebrated its 50th anniversary with an awards luncheon this month at the Black Cat Tavern and a gala at Mack Sennett Studios nearby. A feature-length documentary about the legacy of the Black Cat and The Advocate is in the works.
"I know where I came from," says Romanoff in the video. "Unless you know where you came from, you don't know who you are."
Romanoff remembers a mentor, who everyone called Mother Brian, that "would sit with us and tell us what it was like to be a young gay man in 1890. In those days, and even when I was younger, they just didn't want us around."
Mother Brian gave him advice he's always remembered: "When you're my age and ready to leave this Earth, if you haven't left your community and the world as a whole as a better place than you found it, you haven't lived, your life was wasted."
Watch Romanoff talk about the legacy that will never die in the story from Lyft below: