07 November 2008

How the Helpless Become the Helpful

I consider myself an 'armchair activist.' I tend to be fairly out-spoken about my beliefs. In fact, on any given day, unapologetically and with much passion, I can be found:

- reading about equal civil rights
- studying up on legislation involving my rights
- sharing my beliefs regarding the fight for equal rights for LGBTQ Americans
- having heated, philosophical debates with anyone who will argue back about the parallels between the the women's rights movement, civil rights movement and today's LGBTQ rights movement
- emailing all the contacts in my address book about civil rights violations and what we can do about them, and
- posting blogs and blog comments about equal rights for ALL Americans, not just the ones we are comfortable with.

It's just my way...it's who I am - a grown woman with an opinion who has a vested interest in equal civil rights for ALL Americans.

Rarely; however, have I stepped up to the plate and done anything more than that, save for the occasional donation of a few dollars in support of equality.

My most recent financial donation was to the 'No on 8' campaign in California. Although I couldn't vote there, as a native Californian I felt the desire to do SOMETHING to help. It wasn't as much as I would have liked, just what Angie and I could afford at the time, and clearly, it wasn't enough.

As I watched the election results, the joy in my heart over electing our nation's next President was tempered with the heartbreaking and somber reality of the passing of Prop 8, a serious setback to marriage equality for Californians, and a blow to civil equality in the democratic republic that is America. Never before in American history have 'we the people' eliminated an ALREADY EXISTING civil right. Sure, we've denied rights - women couldn't vote, blacks couldn't marry whites, gays could get arrested for expressing their love in the privacy of their own home - but once a right has been established, America has NEVER taken it back.

Never. Not even once.
Until now.

It is truly a sad state of affairs for our Nation.

With an ache in my heart, I watch the various news reports of mostly peaceful protests by 'No on 8' supporters, and I wish I could be there to be a part of it, to add my voice to the thousands of Californians who are taking to the streets for equal rights. I feel helpless, because I am so far away.

This feeling of helplessness is unacceptable to me. It brings to mind the feeling of being a victim of circumstance, like I don't have control over my own life, my own future, the future of my family. I don't want to feel like a victim - I am NOT a second class citizen, and I won't allow myself to feel like that. For me, out of helplessness is borne a sense of duty to others, and a desire to make a difference. I want to help. I want to put my talents, whatever they may be, to good use. Today, I signed up to volunteer for Georgia Equality. I'm also considering volunteering for YouthPride, to help GLBTQ youth. I don't know what types of activities volunteering will involve, but I do know this...I want to take back my PRIDE and DO SOMETHING.


Mrs Everything said...

Kudos to you for getting involved! Volunteering is one of the most fulfilling experiences. Go for it!

Anonymous said...

Outstanding... You have a way with words. I am glad you are going to volunteer and bring your considerable talents to the table. I am shocked how devastated I am about the passing of Prop 8. I didn't think I cared that much because of my own failed marriage and recent Divorce. I was wrong. I will never look at the people I work with in the same innocent way. I had convinced myself that being a good, loving, compassionate woman, nurse, friend had changed their perception of LGBTQ people. Again I was wrong. So my relationships with non LGBTQ people has been profoundly changed. There will be exceptions of course. That said , I will say to you Kristi I love you and keep up the good fight. I have been fighting for years to make your life easier and freer than mine. I am so tired, so tired.

Sarah Elizabeth Keck said...

I was reading an article that said that one of the reasons Prop 8 passed was that many conservative/traditional blacks who were registered for the first time by efforts of the Obama campaign voted for Obama but also voted in favor of Prop 8. I wish people could take a step back and understand the words of MLK: "An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

I will walk with you on this fight. Stay strong.

Rachel said...

I have two friends who've volunteered with YouthPride and have loved it. It's amazing how sometimes we just say "enough is enough" and that's what gets us involved. I'm impressed!