I called my sister last weekend and asked her to meet me in the Twin Cities. I had a meeting with ART and I told her we’d be “working for the gays.” She suggested that somehow we try putting “working for our gay peeps” into our mission statement. This evolved (or dissolved depending on your take of things) into a new mission to create a gay Peep in time for Easter. Since she is a gay woman who loves Peeps, this seems like the ultimate progressive statement for her. And to have such symbolism during the most holiest of seasons. Well, it would the crunchy sugar coating on the Peep! Peeps, however, are already gay-ly colored so we really struggled with how to identify one as being gay. Oh, the woe we felt for this. Finally! Now is the time to be bold and in your face GAY! Nothing says gay like a Peep. Or does it? We just couldn’t figure it out.
Digressions happen when you are with a sister, gay or straight. Thankfully, ART has a task master (not me) who keeps our meetings running smoothly and no Peep-talk occured.
Though there was plenty of talk about our people. Those we love, those we work with, those we share classrooms and work spaces with. We discussed how we need to keep our mission moving foward. First and foremost, we hope to defeat the amendment that some are hoping to put into our Minnesota Consitution. Some, though we strongly hope not the majority, believe that marriage should be defined as between a man and woman only. Since gay marriage is already illegal in Minnesota, this added amendment serves no purpose other than to create a roadblock to the freedoms our country supposedly promises to everyone.
To that end, we are aiming big and small. Any one of our members is willing to have a conversation with a group of people who might benefit. Daily, I am surprised at people who don’t even know the amendment exists so this goal of getting the word out is obvious.
I have put it upon myself to take our little group national by writing shamelessly to whomever will listen. I have started with Rosie O’Donnell and am working towards Ellen DeGeneres and Anderson Cooper. While we are concerned with Minnesotans, this is a national conversation. We feel the tide turning, and we want to be a part of a group whose soul interest is speaking out for those we love. I always think of Atticus Finch seeking justice for the black man in To Kill a Mockingbird. I think of men speaking out for women, and I know I would be nowhere without those who fought before me to give me this life of choice that I do not take for granted.
I heard Maya Angelou speak in Lincoln, Nebraska on a cold February day in the late 1990’s. At one point during her speech, she became still. She looked up and she said, “Are you black? Raise your hand. Are you male? Raise your hand. Are you under 25? Raise your hand. Now put your hands down and STAND UP. Look at me. LOOK AT ME. Your debt has been paid. People have died for your right to be here. Do something about this. Make us proud. Quit whining. Quit stalling. Make no more excuses, but make us proud. The hardest work is over. Make us proud.”
Her normally melodic voice was full of steel and a gritty insistence I have not heard from anyone since.
Not being black or male, I was still gob-smacked.
We take for granted what those who came before us did. We take for granted everyday the lives we live so it just seems wrong to do nothing. I joined ART because it seemed like the right thing to do.
Check us out: ART (http://www.andrewsroundtable.com/)
Our Valentine’s Mission is easy and cost-free and there is still time to add your name.
I NEED some help in Winona so if you would like to help me here with local events I could seriously use a hand or three.
Until then, I stand with ART and my peeps. (Not Peeps)