I did a quick check this morning to see how many blog posts I’ve written over the last ten years that adress LGBTQ issues. It’s about twenty. I searched “racism”; the results were about the same. Out of 3,087 posts, twenty is nowhere near enough.
I truly believe that there are far more people in Columbia/HoCo who are accepting than those whose loud and angry voices seek to censor books and school curriculum. But perhaps the problem is that many of us are not the “loud and angry” type. I know I’m not.
The loud and angry persona just doesn’t seem to fit with being welcoming, affirming, and open-minded. In a world that often rewards loud and angry we write impassioned letters exhorting people in power to stand up for vulnerable students in our school system. We wear rainbow shirts and go to Pride. We educate ourselves. We read the books other people try to ban. We put Love is Love signs in our yards.
Most importantly we believe people of all gender identities and sexual orientation are deserving of acceptance and love. That seems to some to be a radical thing. But it’s not loud, and it’s not done in anger.
The same is true when it comes to addressing issues of race. Yet again I believe that the majority of us want the students in our schools to learn the truth about American History. We support equitable practices and we want all students to have the best possible educational environment, one that lifts up students of all races, religion, and ethnicities.
That seems to some to be a radical thing. But it’s not loud, and it’s not done in anger.
But right now in Howard County the educational rights of our LGBTQ children and young people are under attack, as are the librarians, teachers, and staff who are doing the jobs they were hired to do: to serve all children. That would mean teaching the truth about American history, learning and using equitable practices, and including books in library collections that meet the needs of LGBTQ students.
If we don’t get loud to support them, who will? It has to be us.
This Saturday at the Lakefront: The We ARE the People Rally will be held from 11 am to 1 pm. Here is the link to the event page. From Facebook:
We are taking a stand against hate in our community as we raise our voices in support of equity in our schools. Attacks on teachers and staff have prompted us to stand united and drown out the noise.
How do we, many of us quiet and not even remotely aggressive, “drown out the noise”? By showing up. By standing together. By making it clear without a doubt that Columbia and Howard County stand for something far bigger than small-mindedness and hate.
I have many friends who are good at showing up. I am terrible at it. I am challenging myself and anyone else out there who agrees with the purpose of this rally but who would usually rather be quiet (and write a letter) to show up. Dress for the weather, wear a mask* if your good judgement informs you to do so.
Be live and in person. Stand up for our children and our schools.
*You are vaccinated, right?