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.

4 comments:

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!