Realizing dreams

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I first heard the Patterson family’s story while attending an evening fundraiser for the nonprofit Equality Arizona.

My husband and I were there with other attorneys and spouses from Perkins Coie, the law firm Dan has been part of since 1985, when it was still Brown & Bain.

Dan leads the firm’s local pro bono practice—work undertaken for the public good, without charge. He and four other attorneys at his firm (including an incredibly bright young woman who was once our son David’s fifth-grade classmate) donated hundreds of hours as co-counsel with Lambda Legal in representing the Pattersons and seven other same-sex couples who took on the state of Arizona in 2014 to challenge a ban on gay marriage.

The October 2015 event we attended followed the resulting victory in that litigation, and there was much celebrating. But when the Pattersons took the stage, there was also a sober reminder: the work of equality is not yet done.

Kevin Patterson did most of the speaking that night. His husband, David, was backstage with their two daughters. Toward the end of Kevin’s talk—during which he detailed the struggle he and David faced to adopt the girls from Arizona’s foster care system—his family joined him on stage.

The girls were adorable, but I think it was their confidence and poise that most touched my heart. I couldn’t help thinking how different their lives might have been.

That night, I made a promise to myself: would share this incredible story. I knew it wouldn’t be easy for some people to see. I knew some people wouldn’t even read it. But it needed to be told, because the Pattersons and families like theirs represent an important part of the solution to our state’s most appalling statistic: more than 19,000 children in Arizona who do not have a stable, loving home like the one in which Cayden and Cayla now thrive.

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For 26 years and three months—315 magazines in all—I have shouldered two titles: Publisher and Editor. This month, I am formally letting go of one. I couldn’t be more happy or proud to introduce Kara G. Morrison as RAK’s new Editor.

Kara comes to us from the Arizona Republic, where she was a features editor and writer for eight years. She has a master’s degree in journalism and worked at three other newspapers before joining the Republic. She and her husband have a 3-year-old daughter, Sofia, which puts her at almost the exact same point I was (my boys were 2 and 4) when I started the magazine.

It will be Kara’s vision guiding future content decisions. I am ready, and relieved, to start letting go of that responsibility, while continuing to play an enthusiastic supportive role.

There is more new talent in our editorial department. Liz Petroff quietly and capably took over as calendar editor last month. With more than a dozen years of television news and feature production experience—and two children, Jack, 8, and Lucy, 6—she brings energy and passion to her job: helping readers discover fun and enriching family-friendly experiences. She joins staff writers Margaret Beardsley (a former TV news executive producer) and Dani Horn (a recent journalism graduate from Glendale Community College) to round out what I’ve affectionately been calling my editorial “dream team.”

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