Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay US Senator, during a speech at the Millennium March for Equality in 2000 titled “Never Doubt” said:
“There will not be a magic day when we wake up and it’s now okay to express ourselves publicly. We make that day by doing things publicly until it’s simply the way things are.”
Sometimes it seems safer to wait until “things get better” before we take a chance. Many of us have heard a voice in our head that says, “don’t make waves” or “don’t attract attention” or warns us to “stay under the radar”. This apprehension can be about sharing a part of ourselves that we fear will not be accepted or understood – it could be a mental health struggle, a struggle to overcome addiction or something to do with how we identify or what we believe. Part of our shared human experience is that most of us – at one point or another – felt that it was better to “hide” a part of ourselves than risk being judged, experiencing prejudice or be excluded from some group that we longed to be a part of.
I think that what Senator Baldwin was suggesting was that change doesn’t happen without effort and some degree of risk. I think that is why it is so important for all of us to be allies for one another.
In the words of Angela Davis:
“… we all have a certain measure of responsibility to those who have made it possible for us to take advantage of the opportunities.
The door is opened only so far. If some of us can squeeze through the crack of that door, then we owe it to those who have made those demands that the door be opened
to use the knowledge or the skills that we acquire not only for ourselves but in the service of the community as well.”
Each of us have grown up in a world that benefited from the work done by those who came before us. One of the things that we can do is ask ourselves – how can I use my voice and my influence to make the road ahead a little easier, to open the door a little wider, for someone else.
Well, that’s what I think.
Thanks for listening,