Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Leading The Charge

  It has been exactly six months since the last time I published an article here on my open book of thought.  I write more often than that, I think my head would explode if I didn't-- but for better or worse a great deal of what I write gets tucked away as a draft, saved for a day when I feel ready to share that particular piece of myself with the world.  My state of mind has been one of deep introspection lately (even more than usual) and I'm afraid my blog has reflected that.

  But once again, we are witnessing history in the making as the voice of justice has risen up in defense of the downtrodden-- and I do not want to miss the opportunity of lending my voice to spreading this message of courage, compassion, and hope for a brighter future.  U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch held a press conference earlier this week, announcing that "we are filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state of North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina.  We are seeking a court order declaring House Bill 2’s restroom restriction impermissibly discriminatory, as well as a statewide bar on its enforcement."

I found this part of Attorney General Lynch's remarks particularly profound:
"Instead of turning away from our neighbors, our friends, our colleagues, let us instead learn from our history and avoid repeating the mistakes of our past.  Let us reflect on the obvious but often neglected lesson that state-sanctioned discrimination never looks good in hindsight.  It was not so very long ago that states, including North Carolina, had signs above restrooms, water fountains and on public accommodations keeping people out based upon a distinction without a difference.  We have moved beyond those dark days, but not without pain and suffering and an ongoing fight to keep moving forward.  Let us write a different story this time.  Let us not act out of fear and misunderstanding, but out of the values of inclusion, diversity and regard for all that make our country great."
  Lynch went on to offer the LGBT community a moment of encouragement, which brought many to tears.
"But no matter how isolated or scared you may feel today, the Department of Justice and the entire Obama Administration wants you to know that  we see you; we stand with you; and we will do everything we can to protect you going forward.  Please know that history is on your side.  This country was founded on a promise of equal rights for all, and we have always managed to move closer to that promise, little by little, one day at a time.  It may not be easy – but we’ll get there together."
Then Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, added this:
"Calling H.B.2 a 'bathroom bill' trivializes what this is really about. H.B.2 translates into discrimination in the real world. The complaint we filed today speaks to public employees who feel afraid and stigmatized on the job. It speaks to students who feel like their campus treats them differently because of who they are. It speaks to sports fans who feel forced to choose between their gender identity and their identity as a Tar Heel. And it speaks to all of us who have ever been made to feel inferior — like somehow we just don’t belong in our community, like somehow we just don’t fit in. Let me reassure every transgender individual, right here in America, that you belong just as you are. You are supported. And you are protected."

  I feel overwhelmed with joy and gratitude whenever I see people choose to stand apart from the fearful mob, and defend the ideals the founding fathers of this nation devoted their lives to enshrining in the charters of freedom.  When we see an entire group of innocent people being singled out for undeserved scrutiny and harassment, it is our duty and privilege to echo what the Declaration of Independence proclaimed to the world more than two centuries ago:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
  It takes strength of character to stand up in support of those who need it most, but make no mistake-- the bravest among us are those who, doing no harm to anyone else, are forced to live every day in constant fear of judgment and hostility... simply for being "different".

  So anyway, I genuinely hope that peace may be found by all who seek the blessings of enjoying "certain unalienable rights".  Like so many generations before us, we bear the responsibility to lead by example, to champion the cause of moving FORWARD in the course of human history.  There is a culture of contempt and contention shrouding our society, of that there is no doubt.  But there is also a light which I can see clearly through the fog of war: the light of kindness and integrity.  I humbly invite you to join me in pursuit of that vision!

Let's find each other out in front,
leading the charge
to secure liberty and justice
for all.

No comments:

Post a Comment