In 2nd grade, we always held hands with another student in our class when we walked to lunch. For me, that other student was Carla. I can see Carla’s smile like it was yesterday, maybe even feel her soft palm clasping mine.
And then one day, another little girl whose name I don’t remember pointed at me and said, “Why are you holding hands with her? She’s black.” I had no idea what “black” meant or why it was a bad thing, but suddenly I understood us and them; me and Carla.
The idea of freedom seems so black and white (pun maybe sort of intended), like, here are the rules — abide by them. It’s a free country, y’all!
But there are these insidious, subtle “isms” that exist in everyday moments and create their own sort of prison.
“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” The quote, often attributed to Gloria Steinem, rings true as we wonder why so many obvious “rights” take so damn long to be accepted, require a vote, and squeak by, 5-4.
We want our freedom.
Freedom to hail a cab — and have it pick you up. Freedom to marry who we want or, hell, not to marry at all. Freedom to feel conflicted. Freedom to turn away from CNN breaking news and watch two hours of So You Think You Can Dance.
#FreeBree. Shimmy up a flag pole.
This July 4th, we have much to celebrate, much to reflect on. In one week, our hearts exploded with sadness and then, incredibly, with joy and a lot of mixed emotions.
A friend of mine made a very good point on Facebook that marriage equality is just a practical thing — now LGBT partners are allowed to fail in the same way everyone else fails. To “get drunk that night and marry some stranger in Las Vegas…This is a celebration that we all have the same choices and opportunities, including marriage, whether or not for love. Love didn’t win. Equality won.”
Yes, but the optimist in me likes to think love is winning — with marriage equality passing, with the forgiveness of so many in Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E. Church, and as our Commander in Chief sings Amazing Grace. There are evil detractors and there’s a long road ahead, but the more we opt for love and hold each other’s hands, the more true freedom we’ll experience.
- Sally Kohn gets $2 worth of acceptance
- Kelly Wickham writes her own narrative
- Amy Barr still loves that Pledge
- Ashley Ford chooses not to be “gifted”
- Kathleen Warner comes to grips with her privilege
- Heather Barmore is undone
- Sally Rumble takes us on a visual march to freedom
You’re Free! Go Do This Stuff
A Good Read: Everything is Yours, Everything is Not Yours (Medium)
A Silly Quiz! Let’s Be Less Stupid and Old (New Yorker)
Join The Cause: The Movement for Black Lives, Cleveland, July 24-26
We Love: This Dancing Cop! (Gothamist)
Let love rule,