Many of you know of my fondness for saying how I feel, particularly if it involves writing it on a sign and holding it. So when I heard there would be not one but TWO protest rallies on my birthday, I was kindof stoked.
I remarked to one of my close friends,
“Can you believe this?! What an awesome thing to get to do ON.MY.BIRTHDAY!”
But as I reflected on the state of our society, it would hit me just how self-absorbed such a statement about rallies on my birthday was—as if these rallies had anything to DO with me.
And then, as I made my way to the rally I had chosen to attend, I began to think:
How I wish there was no need for such expressions.
And yet, we live in a country where they are absolutely necessary.
And it is absolutely vital for people of privilege to stand in solidarity with the human beings at the center of such movements.
Through that evening, standing there with my sign, I would witness people expressing their pain, their passion, their pride with their bodies, their voices, their anger. I saw them observe me, silently, as if to say, “Why are you here.” Or “You already have everything we only dream we had.” Not unwelcoming. But definitely suspicious of my presence.
And yet, there I stood. And then marched.
And in that moment when an immigration rights-focused rally would converge with a “Black Lives Matter” rally, I realized how very necessary it was that I was there—to participate, to record, to show solidarity with other Americans less privileged than me.
The #NoH8 campaign shirt I wore did not stand just for gay rights but for all human rights. No hate, anywhere. Period.
#NoH8 must not only be a symbol for the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, it must be a symbol for the inclusion of everyone in our society.
Justice for Freddie.
No more detention prisons.
Keep families together.
A community united will never be divided.
It must become a rallying cry for solidarity on their behalf.
The modern-day hashtag for the Golden Rule—a concept with roots in most religions— calling people of faith to the cause of all.
And so, I stepped outside myself—again—into a place less familiar and stood among groups of people who had no reason to trust me or welcome me.
And on my birth anniversary, I witnessed the marvel of solidarity being born and living and flourishing around me. What a blessing.