Harvey Milk – “Hope”

In honor of Pride Month and the issuance of the Harvey Milk US Postage Stamp, here’s a short clip from the award winning 1984 documentary “The Times of Harvey Milk

This short yet inspiring speech is something everyone should hear. Milk asserts that LGBT Rights, Civil rights, Women’s Rights are all connected. We need each other to succeed. Together we are strong.

Milk insists that we not forget the LGBT youth who are struggling with their identity. Give them hope for a better tomorrow.

“Without hope, life is not worth living.” – Harvey Milk

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A Word About Allies.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, I thought I’d say a few words about allies.

According to Dictionary.com, an Ally isa person who associates or cooperates with another; a supporter.”

I can only speak from my own life experience. I am a gay, while male. That is the perspective from which I see the world. When it comes to *people of color, the best I can do is empathize and remember that it’s not always about me.

❇When I say “People of Color”, I’m referring to all ethnic and/or non-white people. Essentially, the majority of people on the planet.

As a gay man, I can easily empathize with any oppressed persons. There are laws prohibiting my very existence. Anti-gay violence is everywhere. It would be easy to compare it to the horrors inflicted upon African American families throughout the history of this great, yet flawed, country of ours. But I have the luxury of never having had my family torn apart and sold as chattel. No one in my family ever risked their lives just to sit at a lunch counter. No one in my family was strung up in a tree and left to die because (s)he misspoke. None of my family was burned out of their home because they moved into a neighborhood with better schools.

Allies don’t always get it right.

The job of an ally is to support and give voice to those whose voice cannot be heard. Unfortunately, we sometimes get so caught up in our own BS that we forget to step aside and give up the spotlight.

I’ve been fortunate to have had good friends and lovers who have had the patience and fortitude to put up with my BS, and show me when and where I was wrong. I didn’t always like it. At times I was downright insulted. How dare they say I’m just as racist as…? Live and learn, right?

The point I’m trying to make is this.

When you hear black folks expressing displeasure about white folks, for any reason, remember it’s not necessarily about you. It could be, but chances are they’re trying to tell you something. All you have to do is shut up and listen.

It’s not your job to say anything. Just listen.

Martin Luther King Jr. on NBC’s Meet the Press in 1965

Though not the 1963 Pre-March on Washington episode that was rebroadcast Sunday morning, it’s interesting to note how some of those attitudes still persist today.

Some on twitter likened it to watching Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, or even Bill O’Reilly in 2013.

It’s true that we have accomplished much since the 1960s. There is more representation of people of color in positions of power. But there still remains a stubborn thread of ignorance that prevents America from fully being the “Land of the Free” that it purports to be.

Originally posted Sunday 25 August on ADignorantium.Tumblr