At the moment, in an effort to calm my nerves and strung-out emotions, I repeat that sentiment over and over, concentrating on each word, every syllable, hoping I can start by laughing at this tempest I’ve become today, with the pregnant possibility each moment this last week has carried.
History is being written, in the chambers of justice, over phone lines, in newsrooms and feverishly tapped onto keyboards around the state and country.
My brow remains furrowed; no giggle will escape my pursed lips.
“Just breathe,” the quiet voice in my head switches to, “there will be time to relax and celebrate victories, now we must work.”
My work at the moment is to memorialize these moments in sentiments meant to inspire the masses. Breaking news comes in waves, and by the sheer number of internet likes, re-tweets, shares, and comments, one can tell that, no doubt, many know what has come down the pike, and feel moved to speak for, or against, this latest chapter in our country’s comparatively short history.
The need to share the human side of these rulings moves me to tell you how gravely important it is that you care about this cause. I know assuredly that we are a collection of our desires, and actions, and anyone who has been judged unfairly should be able to relate. It is when those judgments hold the power to affect one’s daily life, as well as their pursuit of liberty and happiness, that the need to stand behind those who are oppressed becomes greater than just sharing an internet article to the point of viral.
Something must move us enough to push to the streets, and courthouses.
My inner voice whispers again, “Let my fingers act as a conduit of inspiration then, my dear affected heart. Please simmer down, you deflated sense of justice.”
Where has my laughter and lightness gone?
The way of the winter birds, as a syrup of discontent has settled in my hot veins.
Why can’t I shake this seriousness?
Because responsibility often feels heavy, and my bones are weighted with the knowledge that the civil rights story of this century is unraveling before me; in the living rooms of my friends and family, updated daily on the local evening news.
It is all extremely close to home, literally. While some of the story remains to be written, the end of this long battle is near and approaching quickly.
I abhor labels, as much as commitment (there is a connection there), but that of activist I would wear with pride. Technically, as a lover of women and men, you could label me as the B in LGBT, though I am offended by the inclusion of sexual in that term, as it is much more than my sex that embraces my soul’s partner.
It has little to do with bedrooms, and everything to do with living and loving and laughing, actively and out loud.
Closets are great for clothes and certain skeletons, yet too limiting for lifestyles. It’s stifling and small in there, and that is not the place for me or you.
Yet when the government of your State rails against a federal ruling that finally commits to legislation every citizen’s right to protections and comforts by validating their equal right to marry the love they wish to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, with the protection of medical rights and retirement benefits, it is hard to feel like it wouldn’t be easier to stay silent; to run and hide in that safe, quiet space.
I implore you, don’t hide.
Stay furious. Let’s be as vocally against their limiting beliefs as they are about their “family” values.
If the internet is our most opportune street, let’s use it, with open hearts, transparent lives and loud, loving voices.
Even if that’s tough love.
Even if our fingers shake as we type.
Why should you care if you are not gay, or looking to marry, or a resident of Alabama?
Because freedom is the lifeblood of any great democracy, and without the support of a large percentage of the majority, a minority cannot be the only advocates for their equality and freedom. The democratic process, by its very nature, is set up in a way that automatically fails those citizens.
It becomes the responsibility then of a certain amount of citizens to speak out and actively challenge the existing system.
Justice is coming. Let’s all commit to standing on the right side of history, to be the voices for those who have lost theirs in the dark night of persecuted otherness.
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Author: Evelyn Bradford
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: via the author