October 19, 2009

Peace, Love, and Equality. Or, Something Like That.

My mom came to visit me last Sunday for slightly over 24 hours. She rode up with her bff Linda and stopped by to say "hey!"

Before she came I asked if she would get me a couple packs of Red Bull since they're pretty over-priced here in the city (along with, basically, everything else). As the car pulled up, the trunk popped open, and the bags started falling out I immediately assumed they were all stuffed with my Fall/Winter sweaters and coats. But nay Nancy. Nay. Rather, one of the large bags had 3 12 packs of Red Bull. Yes, 36 Red Bulls. And, wanna know the scary part? Saturday I started to make a dent in the second pack. Scarier part? I drink coffee everyday, too.

Why is that a part of my blog you ask? Because I'm only writing this since I'm still wired from my midterm (coupled with a Red Bull) I had a couple of hours ago. So, I figured this was the perfect time to at least share some things I've been up to since I last checked in ...

As a first year at UVa I was lucky enough to have a 12 person discussion course with Julian Bond in his last year as a professor at the University. Julian Bond helped forge the trail for the Civil Rights Movement alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Two Saturdays ago, the evening before the National Equality March on Sunday October 11th, Julian Bond stepped forward and declared that this march was quite similar to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.

And how true! Remembering what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saw in the potential of our country then, we must also reflect on it now as a complete and utter parallel to our fight for the LGBT community so that they may also experience the same rights as you and me (or me and the person sitting next to me right now if you happen to be gay. this one's for you ;) ):

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and realize the true meaning of it's creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all mean are created equal.'"

"I have a dream that one day my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

** I look forward to the day where my (two) children will not judge others for who they love, rather, they will look for content of character.

"Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring—when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics - will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

In 1958 an African American woman and Caucasian man were married in DC (because in their home state of Virginia, they couldn't be married because of the Racial Integrity Act). Police officers broke into their home in hopes to catch them having sex, which was also a crime, (the sexual relations) instead Mr. Loving pointed to their Marriage Certificate hanging on the wall. Coming to the realization they were married in another state they were arrested immediately and imprisoned for a year.

YOU GUYS, this was only 50 years ago! Anti - miscegenation laws not yet set into motion. How disgusted does this make you? I only hope we look back and feel the same about our treatment of homosexuals in 50 years.

Hold on ...

Climbing off my soap-box ...

On the heels of the Equality March I attended PFLAG's benefit dinner/auction. If you don't know much about PFLAG you should check out their organization here. They're awesome ... but the long and short of it is they represent the "parents and friends of lesbians and gays" but, really, they are friends (and parents) of the entire LGBT community. Claire helped put this gala together, and I have to say it was absolutely remarkable.

It just so happened that the event was held on the 11th year, to the day, since Matthew Shepard's murder. He was the 21 year old male who was taken from a bar, beaten until unrecognizable, and strung up and left to die on a fence post. Because he was gay. Because he was gay! Do you know what they said when they found him? Most people have heard that he was almost not found because he resembled a scarecrow. But when he was indeed found 18 hours later, they said that the only place on his face and body that was not covered in blood was the skin where his tear had fallen. Can you imagine? And this is all because of his sexuality.

I appreciated the momentum created by the PFLAG event; the money raised at the dinner will send representatives into schools to help counselors better understand how to work with those that are homosexuals, as well as speaking with the students to break the stigma of those that are gay. Really cool work going on here and around the country.

And there are people in my life, across the board, that may not agree with my opinions. They respect them, and understand my rationale. That is the environment conducive towards change ... one of respect.

No comments: