Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hello Felipe, hello

This is the latest in the day I have ever written this.  Minor surgery on my pinky slowed me down.  The subject has changed though from what I was originally going to say because on the way home from the doctor, I learned of the passing of Felipe Sanchez Paris, a dear friend - a loving father, grandfather, and husband.
 
The Right Reverend Otis Charles had been the Episcopal Bishop of Utah and in his retirement, he came out as a gay man and moved to San Francisco where he married Felipe Sanchez Paris.  It was through Bishop Otis that I met Felipe.  (That's the short version).

Felipe was a retired professor, a political organizer, a devoted churchman, and a family man with kids and grandkids, ex-wives, and a husband whom he adored and who adored him.  Every time I saw him he had a kind word for me and it seemed he always had a twinkle in his eye.  Felipe did not shy away from controversy.  He stood up and indeed he made a difference.  The world is a better place because Felipe came our way!

While I sorrow with dear Bishop Otis and all who mourn, I also rejoice in a life lived to the fullest.  I never have been a fan of saying goodbye.  I believe in life eternal and I know that I will see this wonderful man again.  So, hello Felipe.  Hello!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Odds and ends

Today I have several odds and ends for you.  There have been a bunch of things I have been meaning to say, and so finally today I am saying them!

First of all thank to you all for reading this.  Some mornings I wake up with no clear idea of what I am going to say, but knowing that someone is going to read these words encourages me.  My friend Toan Lam told me yesterday that this encouraged him.  That is high praise.  I met Toan because of his journalism background but got to know him through Go Inspire Go, which he created (and which I have written about several times here).  Anyway, Toan has gone from being an inspiration to someone I am proud to call a friend. 
 
Several other readers occasionally contact me and on rare occasions, a comment is even left here.  Please know that comments are always welcome.  I especially want to invite you to mention organizations or individuals that you think do some wonderful good and should be written about.
 
For those of you who might not have read this for long, I want to point out that, just like the name says, it is NOT about me.  Yes, I do mention myself from time to time, but the purpose of this has always been to talk about good - about making a difference - about giving back.  Every one of us can do this.  EVERY one! 
 
So today I just want to thank you for reading and thank you for commenting and also invite you to share this with others and let them know we are here.  Do good!  Be well!

Monday, July 29, 2013

hopes and dreams

A couple of days ago, in writing about The Jubilee Project, I quoted a question they asked in Skid Row.  I'd now like to post that same question to you:  What Is your dream?

Do people still dream?  The Skid Row interviewees did, but how about the rest of us?  Do we have hopes and dreams for ourselves and for the world and those around us?  What do you think?  I'd really love to hear your thoughts.

Henry David Thoreau said once "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."

So, follow your dreams, but first if you will, share some of them with us in the comments section below.  Thanks!

Friday, July 26, 2013

It's a Wong Fu Weekend!

Just about everyone who goes on the internet, has watched a video on youtube.  The video sharing service that began back in the San Francisco area in 2005 is huge and has made some weekend camera geeks into stars.  Of course there are some guys with cameras who also helped make youtube what it is today.  Meet Philip, Ted, and Wesley.
 
If you haven't ever heard of Wong Fu Productions, where have you been?  These three guys - Philip Wang, Ted Fu, and Wesley Chan, have been making short videos since they met in college, long before there even was a youtube!  I know the purpose of this blog is to talk about making a difference in this world, well these guys do that indeed!  They make feel-good videos.  They make good clean wholesome videos that you look forward to seeing.  Sometimes there is a message.  There motto says it best: "If at the end of the day there's someone out there who has a better day because of us, then we've succeeded."
 
Now I am not going to lie.  I am a HUGE fan.  I'm not young, straight, or Asian (their primary fan base) - in fact I just might be their oldest fan.  I particularly look forward to their weekly feature Wong Fu Weekends, where the three just talk to the camera about any number of things, like who can put together a puzzle the fastest or who makes the best ramen. Do check out their videos though and see for yourself.  Go to http://wongfuproductions.com/#videos
 
Thanks Wong Fu for changing the world!  Thanks for making us all feel a little better, even with the occasional booger sketch.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Givers

Sunday I saw so many givers, it really warmed my heart.  At AIDS Walk of course it was all about giving, but I was actually surprised at some of the extra giving I saw.  Later in the day there was more.
 
I stopped at McDonald's on my way home and there saw a man buy three lunches which he then proceeded to give to a homeless family he had encountered outside. 
 
Facebook has all kinds of posts but yesterday a particularly nice one from a friend of mine who was celebrating his birthday.  He wrote "I have a request for everyone I know to do one good deed to a random person for my birthday. Even if its just a compliment or giving change to a homeless person. It'll make you feel good and it'll make me feel good. Just like pay it forward."
 
So many ways to give.  So wonderful to see all this giving!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What is your dream?

Skid Row, a Los Angeles neighborhood with a   per capita income of about $14,210 and about 41.8% of the population below the poverty line, is the subject of the latest effort by The Jubilee Project.  Click HERE to watch the video.
 
As with all Jubilee Project videos, this one is very moving.  It asks a simple question:  "What is your dream?"  I could write quite a bit just about that question and perhaps I will one morning, but today my purpose is to once again call to your attention these three guys (Eddie Lee, Jason Y. Lee, and Eric Lu) and their mission of making videos for a cause. 

I have written about them several times here (in fact just a few weeks ago) and you may know them from what I have previously said.  If you haven't heard of them yet, I urge you to visit their website at  http://jubileeproject.org/

There have made videos in many different places and soon will being doing one right here in the Bay Area.  They're searching for some amazing children in the Palo Alto area who have inspiring stories about battling a serious challenge, circumstance or illness. Send them an email with your story by Wednesday, July 31 at jpmystory@gmail.com - please feel free to tell them you heard about it here.  Perhaps your story will be chosen.   

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lighten the darkness

The San Francisco Night Ministry, now in its 49th year, has been the subject here on a number of occasions because I happen to think they do some very important work.  They bridge the gap a night between the times when social services are offered in the daytime and work with some of the most vulnerable.

Night Ministry isn't about getting people in to church and it isn't a big campaign for a particular denomination.  Yes, the "ministers" are indeed ordained clergy, and the trained crisis counselors on the telephone hotline do come largely from church memberships, but it isn't a bunch or Scripture quoting and hymn singing.  San Francisco Night Ministry provides counseling and referral services, crisis intervention, and sometimes just an ear to listen.  They also have a wellness program and a couple of feeding programs.

I tell you about this because this is one organization where there are numerous ways you can help.  Donating money is always a help to non-profits such as this.  Last year, 45% of their funding came from individuals like you and me.  They can also use volunteers both in their crisis lines (training is required for this) and working in the daytime in the office.  They can also use volunteers in their wellness program.  The food programs I mentioned need hosts too - people to organize the meals and serve them.  You can also help Night Ministry just by spreading the word!

Go to http://www.sfnightministry.org to find out more.  So much good each night - help them lighten the darkness.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Yes I went a walkin

Thousands of people yesterday at this year's AIDS Walk San Francisco in Golden Gate Park, and even though it was a cold a brisk morning, a lot of warmth came from what we did.  The battle against AIDS is not over, but each year more and more warriors join in the fight.
 
Even though this blog is NOT about me, I am one of the walkers, and thanks to so many wonderful people, I have raised more money this year than ever before.  I am grateful to all of my donors and also to the API Wellness Team, with whom I walked once again.  A special thanks too goes to my friends Michael, Kyle, and Andrew who each year have been getting more and more people involved in this event.  Thanks also to my sister Terri and my friend Toan for their encouragement as I walk this year in memory of Mom.


I can recall the very beginning of HIV/AIDS.  I remember meeting someone on Sunday and hearing that Thursday that they had died - it happened that fast.  I remember when people were afraid of anything with "AIDS" in the name and when AIDS Walk was only a tiny bit of what it is now.  More and more keep joining in though and it looks like the days of people with AIDS being alone, are in the past.  I hope that involvement continues to grow, until there's a cure. 



I'm reminded of those wonderful words from that Rogers and  Hammerstein classic, words which each year are song at the start of AIDS Walk San Francisco:  "Walk on walk on with hope in your heart. And you'll never walk alone. You'll never walk alone."

Friday, July 19, 2013

let's talk about leukemia

With AIDS Walk just days away, I'm sure you wouldn't expect for me to talk about another fundraising walk, but today I not only want to mention it, I also want to talk generally about leukemia.  Earlier this year my mother died, and while leukemia was not her direct cause of death, she had been living with it for years and it did lead to a weakened system.  Because of Mom's leukemia, I became more aware of the disease a few years ago.
 
Leukemia is a type of blood cancer that begins in the bone marrow, the soft tissue in the center of the bones, where blood cells are produced. White blood cells (leukocytes) are used by the body to fight off infections and other foreign substances and a person with leukemia may have a weakened immune system and be unable to fight off a simple infection.  There are different types of leukemia and I couldn't give all of the answers here in this little space.  Actually nobody has all the answers.  That is why awareness is so important.
 
Last year I participated in Light the Night Walk for the first time, and last night I signed up to do it again this year.  That's why today seem like a good time to mention it here.  Leukemia is a treatable (bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone treatments) disease and the rate of cure depends on the type of leukemia as well as the patient's age. Participation in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light The Night Walk funds therapies and treatment advances which help to save lives.

The San Francisco walk is in September and you can come out and walk or you can sponsor me or another walker or simply make a general donation.  You can also look for walks that may be closer to where you live.  Go to http://www.lightthenight.org/ to find out more!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

more racism

This week has not been to be proud of our fellow Americans because there have been far too many racist insults hurled over and over from various venues and for various reasons.  Apparently some think that they have a special right to define who is American and who is not what kind of behavior is American and what is un-American.  At issue not is last night's All Star Game where singing sensation Marc Anthony sang God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch.  "Why didn't an American sing it?" someone tweeted.  A post on facebook said "Why did they have a Mexican do it?"  Many other post have been far more vile and I cannot even quote them here.

A couple of things first:  the very talented actor and singer, Marco Antonio Muñiz, known professionally as Marc Anthony, was born in New York City, which is part of the United States.  His heritage is Puerto Rican (also part of the United States).  A longtime member of the Democratic party, he performed the National Anthem at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.  Why would anyone suggest that he is Mexican?  Why would anyone suggest he is not American?
 
Marc Anthony sang God Bless America with so much feeling and emotion.  I don't know when I have heard it sung better.  Seriously.  It was wonderful.  All too often celebrities come out and do an awful National Anthem or a terrible version of God Bless America.  That was certainly not the case here!  It was marvelous!
 
I'm not sure why we should object even if the singer was not American.  Could not a foreign national sing God Bless America?  I know many folks who hail from other countries who love the USA and who are proud to be here and to sing our praises.  But, and this is the significant thing, Anthony IS an American.  He was born here and has spent all of his 44 years here.  Saying he is not an American is not only incorrect, but it is rude and another disgusting example of racism.  We need to end this!  NOW!
 
I want to be proud of being an American because I want this to be the country that gets it.  I want this to be the country that accepts everyone and the country that doesn't hate.  Get I get everyone behind this?  Let's do it!  Let's stop the hate!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dr King always said it so well

The past few days have been very frustrating.  I know that hate exists, but we are seeing it in huge amounts right now, and it's making me sick.  I don't think I will ever understand hate.
 
The words of the Rev Martin Luther King, Jr have always inspired me and brought be a sense of peace.  Whatever the subject, Dr King always said it so well.  In the past few days there have been a lot of quotes from him floating around.  This one in particular moved me:
 
"Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love."

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Vandalism is never the answer

Certainly there has been frustration over the Zimmerman verdict on Saturday and something must be done to keep this from happening over and over, but smashing the windows of small businesses  will not solve the problem nor with torching the cars of individuals who can scarcely afford to fill their gas tanks.  Hitting the little guy only makes things worse.  That include blocking traffic for hours on end and keeping those hourly employees from making it to their jobs on time.  Vandalism is never the answer.

As I said here yesterday, I don't know what the answer is, but the status quo has got to go.  There must be changes in laws and changes in how we think.  Many people actually applauded the Zimmerman verdict, although for me it was complete disgust.  I really wish I had some answers.  As I said, "I wish I had some great wisdom that could change all of this injustice and let us move onward."  I don't though.  I only know that we need to be committed to change or it won't happen.  Together we can work toward good.  We have to want to end racism though.  We have to want to end injustice. 

It is frustrating when you see the victim of a murder put on trial.  Trayvon Martin does not deserve that.  Remember he is the VICTIM.  May he rest in peace.  May this tragedy finally wake us up that we are one people and that we should be united in love, not devided by hate.  Honor Trayvon by peacefully working to change so that this will never happen again. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Let's talk about this weekend

,
There is no way I can begin this day without taking a look back at the weekend.  By now you have heard that the man who stalked and then shot unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was cleared of all charges by a jury in Florida.  The outrage is being felt around the world.  Where is the justice?
 
By coincidence, this weekend a movie, Fruitvale Station, opened in theatres.  It tells the story of a 22-year-old unarmed black man who was shot and killed by a police officer right here in the San Francisco area.  In that case a guilty verdict came to a lesser charge and a very light sentence was imposed. 

If you are over 40, you will likely recall the murder of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, who were shot and killed at City Hall by a former Supervisor November 27, 1978.  Again a light sentence to a lessor charge.

Outrage each time.  Rioting in the streets.  Looking back at the earlier incidents and many other similar ones, have we seen any real change?  Is there justice?  Is our system broken or are WE broken?

Let's talk about Saturday though.  I am disgusted by some of the comments I have heard.  Racism is huge in this country.  You would think by now we would have grown away from that.  The victim in this case was painted in a horrible light.  He should not have been on trial.  How can we justify this?  I really wish I had some answers.  I wish I had some great wisdom that could change all of this injustice and let us move onward.  We all deserve the blessings of liberty - ALL of us!  Trayvon Martin is a name we will long remember, but what if he had lived?  Imagine what he might have brought the world.  How much better it would be to remember him because of some wonderful act instead of as the victim of another senseless crime.

Let's talk about this weekend, but let's do more than that.  Let's change.  Let's reach out to ALL of our sisters and brothers and make America the great melting pot we always talk about.  Racism, homophobia, inequality, and injustice have no place here.  We say we are the place of "liberty and justice for all."  Let's make it so!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Become a Jubileever

You may recall when we wrote here about Eddie Lee, Jason Y. Lee, and Eric Lu leaving their jobs (White House and Consulting) and school (Harvard Medical) to pursue their dreams and work on The Jubilee Project full time making videos for a good cause. You may recall me pointing toward some of their early videos and inviting you to watch them. Some of you may regularly follow Eddie, Jason, and Eric and the Jubilee adventures via their website and youtube.

Are they still making videos? You bet! In fact on Wednesday, in response to questions about if they were still doing it they released a video in which they answer the question in song – “We can’t stop.”  Click HERE to see that video (and at the end see a preview of some things coming up).

You may remember the fundraiser they had so they could make a big video about the end of AIDS. Because of the incredible generosity and love from The Jubilee Project’s followers, they have been able to make films such as “Fireflies,” “The Last Pick” partnered with the Jeremy Lin Foundation, and “The Master Chef.” That big one, called “The EndGame,” about a global movement to end AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, is still to come.  I really can't wait to see that, but in the mean time, several more will be coming out - all of them inspiring. 

Everything these guys do is encouraging. Here are three guys who really are changing the world. Follow their efforts. Watch their videos. Become a Jubileever!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

remembering Jazzie Collins


Waking up this morning to the sad news that a leader in the local lgbt community, Jazzie Collins, passed away last night.  She inspired so much hope and passion, with such integrity and care and she will indeed be missed.

She was a resident of San Francisco for over twenty five years and fought fiercely for transgender equality. I used to see her at events with a big wide welcoming smile. That's one of the things I will always remember and will always miss. I was so happy to walk up the street with her during the Trans March last year.
 
Jazzie was the chair of the SoMa Stabilization Fund Community Advisory Committee, providing direction and leadership for the CAC as well as representing the concerns of seniors an disabled residents within the south of Market area.  She did so many things and right now, I just can't think of them all at the moment.  Jazzie was recently honored by Assemblymembers Tom Ammiano and Phil Ting in Sacramento for all her amazing work, and amazing it was.
 
She was definitely a giver and she touched many lives.  Rest in peace dear Jazzie and thanks for all your hard work!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Because you care

Why is it that you want to make a difference? Why is it that you want to change the world?  The very best reason (I think), is simply because you care.  Doing good, just for the sake of doing good, might be a pretty rare act.  I suppose that human nature makes us most often ask the question, "What's in it for me?  What do I get out of it?"  Becoming famous or popular is not really a good reason for doing good - it certainly doesn't offer the same rewarding feeling!
 
Here's a great way to achieve this too - when you give, don't expect ANYTHING in return!  I mean anything.  Seriously.  If you expect a handwritten thank you note and don't receive one, you are going to stew over it and resent your own actions.  How about when an incentive is offered?  Give because you want to, and don't even think about any incentive prize, then if you receive it, it can be enjoyable, and if they somehow overlook it, you won't need to get upset - you were not expecting anything anyway!
 
Holding a grudge?  Have bad feelings toward someone?  Forgive that person, not because you know they’ll owe you, but because you have compassion for them. Do it because you care.
 
Give money that you can spare to someone who needs it, and then pretend you never had it.  This can be a real feel-good situation.  Do it because you care.
 
So many things you can do to really make a difference.  Listen.  Be real.  Be present.  Whatever you do, do it because you care.
 
Apologize to someone if you have acted selfishly, even if you don’t like feeling wrong. It will remind that other person they deserve to be treated with respect.  Perhaps you will be rewarded, but don't do it for that reason.  Do it because you care.  Your reward will truly be greater when your actions are just because you care!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Red Cross is on the scene

"A raging fire has caused the evacuation of several buildings and the Red Cross is on the scene."  How many times have you heard something like that on a radio or tv news report?  Not only fires, but earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and all kinds of disasters, bring out the American Red Cross.
 
A wonderful nurse by the name of Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in Washington, DC on May 21, 1881 and she led the organization for 23 years.  You might not know that the American Red Cross is a charity, not a government agency, and it relies heavily on volunteers and on donations.  It is part of the world's largest volunteer network found in 187 countries.  Its presence in times of disaster makes a huge difference in the lives of those effected.
 
Want to help them?  Well, as I said, volunteers and money help a lot.  You can find out more about the organization and you can find out about donating or volunteering on their website.  Go to http://www.redcross.org/ - click on the many links there.  You will find a lot of touching stories.
 
The Red Cross truly makes a difference.  Lend them a hand!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Inspired by Jobs

It's another glorious day here in San Francisco.  I just got back from a run and I'm ready to take on the world.  Blue skies and fresh air are such a wonderful tonic.  I saw an old poster along the way with the face of Steve Jobs asking "'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?"  What a great question!  Clear your head, take a deep breath, and think about it.

I'm glad I saw that, because Steve Jobs was one of those people who really inspired me.  I even have a favorite quote of his because it speaks to what I do here every day.  "Here's To The Crazy Ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them.  About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.  Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world - are the ones who DO !"

Steve's 56 years were an incredible journey and we can all be glad he came our way.  Whether or not you have an Apple product, there is something that Steve Jobs did that has touched you.  Let's follow his lead, and change the world!

Friday, July 5, 2013

We need more laborers

From Saint Luke's gospel: "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few."  Some of the regular readers of this blog are probably cringing right now.  I have been told that specific references to Scripture make some uncomfortable.  (I was also told to not spend so much time on "gay stuff" an "those trangenders" but I don't pay a lot of attention to anything that suggests a lack of tolerance.  Most of what I write about here is rooted in God's Word, even if I don't specifically quote from The Bible. 
 
Anyway, about those laborers that I mentioned at the top of all of this.  Jesus is the one talking in the quote and the reason it came to mind is that I realized it was what was going to me read in many churches this morning.  Perfect!  This is the kind of thing I am always talking about anyway.  Labor.  Doing.  Getting involved. 
 
Now Jesus is telling us in effect that we are going to be working very hard because it's a big job and not enough people have signed up.  Nothing wrong with the harvest - the problem is with the laborers.  We need more!  Well, we could talk here about everyone working harder or about everyone doing more or about getting more people involved.  How about we do all of these things?  There is a whole lot of work to be done.  Who though is being asked to do it?  Pretty simple answer:  we ALL are!  We all need to get involved to do the work of making things better.  Together we can move mountains.  Together we can do pretty much anything.  The load is not as heavy if there are more folks doing it.
 
Let us all become laborers in this field of life!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Not the only ones

Those early American I wrote about here yesterday were not the only ones who made a difference.  We have so many examples of early American individuals getting involved and doing good for others.  Perhaps it was just an offer to mow someone's lawn or to carry the groceries to the car for a shopper, but times were much more simple then.
 
Throughout the history of our country there have been givers though, the early ones were not the only ones.  People still give today and in fact that is why we write this - to put the spotlight on some of those people and also to suggest additional ways to give.  The giving can go on and on and on.
 
So how about it?  How do YOU give back?  What suggestions do you have for simple ways of giving? 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness

The thirteen original colonies and Great Britain had been at war for over a year by the time the Declaration of Independence was adopted in July 1776, and relations between the colonies and England had the been going downhill for sometime.  Thomas Jefferson was arguing then that Parliament was the legislature of Great Britain only, and that the colonies, were only connected to the rest of the British Empire only through their allegiance to the King.  In January of 1776, Thomas Paine, who had only recently arrived in the colonies, argued in favor of our independence in his booklet Common Sense.  It was John Adams, who would later become our second president, that really pushed for independence.
 
On June 11, 1776, our Continental Congress appointed a "Committee of Five", consisting of Jefferson and Adams together with Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, and Robert R. Livingston, to draft a declaration. What they came up with his been called one of the greatest writings of all time.  It was on July 4, 1776, after a unanimous acceptance of the document by Congress, that the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved and sent to the printer for publication.  Of course the rest is history!

Of all of the document, my favorite is the preamble, which John Adams wrote.  It says "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  Remember those words - life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Talk about making a difference in the world.  Here we find a number of people who truly made a difference and continue to every single day.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Commitment

Did you ever promise to do something and then didn't do it?  It wasn't much of a commitment, was it?  How involved are we?  Do we really care?

The great tennis pro and lgbt activist Martina Navratilova once said "The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed."  Indeed.

We all have an opportunity to make change in this world.  Every single one of us can do something, but commitment is needed.  To make change in this world of ours, be a pig, not a chicken.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The other side of the coin

After a week of talking about LGBT Pride celebrations and my local lgbt heroes, I want to take a second to look at the other side of the coin.  Someone actually asked me why there are no festivals for white people here in San Francisco, so I have several things to say, but first I want to mention a comment that came on one of last week's posts.

Last Wednesday when the US Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and also returned the Prop 8 decision to the lower court, I wrote here about Gavin Newsom who got the marriage equality ball rolling in San Francisco.  I received several emails about what I wrote (all positive) and a reader also posted a comment, which you might have already seen.  Just in case you didn't, here is part of what she wrote:

"Our only daughter is 22 yrs old, and happens to be straight. When she was little, she said she wanted a gay big brother. Not just a big brother, but specifically. Now she has many gay best friends, and spent last evening in the Castro, celebrating with them. That gay big brother, had he existed, would have come into a family that believes what this woman -- Glennon Melton -- wrote. THIS is a mountain I'm willing to die on." 

The reference is to  this: http://momastery.com/blog/2010/10/14/a-mountain-im-willing-to-die-on/  Check it out!  Pretty moving stuff from someone who really gets it.

Unfortunately there are a lot of folks who don't get it.  When people complain about so much coverage of "gay news" they forget that what there is the rest of the time is coverage of everything else.  LGBT people are still discriminated against more than any other group (especially the transgender part of that) and until that discrimination is gone, a light most shine into that darkness.

Now why is there an Asian American celebration in May and an LGBT celebration in June and numerous other observances all throughout the year for various groups?  Well the reason doesn't come down to just one thing - we all like to celebrate our own heritage, but welcoming others to see who we are is also a wonderful thing.  Knowledge helps destroy hate. 

The question I was asked about no celebrations for white people might seem a little silly to some, but there can be a celebration.  Look at the other side of the coin.  Do you want folks to know more about you?  Do you want to celebrate your own heritage?  Italian American festivals or Irish American or the Pilgrim parties that I used to see - these are examples of celebrations of the heritage of white people - celebrations that already exist.  Oh and why is there no "straight pride"?  Come on folks, there already is!

To Pam Spaulding, a big thanks as she closes down the coffee shop today.  Read her last entry HERE and be thankful for all she has done.  She shared a lot of stories.  Now friends, share yours!  Get to know others.  It really does help to break down misunderstandings and hate.  I have always enjoyed Pam's House Blend and I am always excited to see people sharing.  I was thrilled to see so many straight people at this year's Pride Celebration.  Whoever is celebrating, come - come join in the fun!