Saturday, June 27, 2015

WE DO

Yesterday, history was made, and it continues today. This morning's San Francisco Chronicle had a two word banner headline: WE DO. Below it was a picture (not this one, but similar) from inside San Francisco City Hall. We do can refer to the agreement that to people make, each to the other, at a wedding, but it can also refer to acceptance. We do finally accept you as a complete and equal part of society. Well, at least that's how I would like to look at it.

So now that same-sex couples can wed in North American and in much of Europe and in some other parts of the world, let's stop saying marriage equality and let's stop saying gay marriage. Let's just call it marriage.

How wonderful that such a landmark decision came on the weekend that LGBT Pride Celebrations take place in so many cities. Talk about perfect timing! That will make the events today and tomorrow that much more special. These Pride events are held toward the end of June annually throughout the world to mark the Stonewall riots which happened in New York City on June 28th of 1969. Equality has marched forward ever since with the biggest victory coming yesterday. The military ban is gone. In many states there is housing and job protection. Things have gotten better. Before we do much more celebrating though we need to work on equality for all.

Our transgender sisters and brothers are still facing a huge amount of hate and discrimination. A White House event this week drew attention to that and a courageous transgender woman who spoke up and interrupted the President, should be applauded and joined in her struggle, instead of scolded for breaking the rules of a social engagement.  It's NOT about me.  It's about all of us.  Her struggle is my struggle.

We make history every time we stand up for justice and fairness and equality. We make history every time we do good and every time we speak the truth and every time we say we want a better world. We do want to change the world! We do!

Friday, June 26, 2015

HISTORY IS MADE!

This morning I have been up for hours - actually that has happened several times lately, in anticipation of the historic decision by the US Supreme Court. Just over an hour ago they issued an opinion that will effect the entire nation. They affirmed equality. They said that gay people can marry too. Years from now you will remember where you were on the morning of June 26, 2015. Today, history is made.

In writing the majority opinion, Justice Anthony McLeod Kennedy said these words, which will likely end up on posters:

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In the forming of a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgement of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered.

I have just seen tweets from California Lt Gov Gavin Newsom (the former mayor of San Francisco), who had the courage to start the whole same-sex marriage ball rolling, eleven years ago. I have seen tweets from other policiticans and from celebrities and from the many activists who have worked so hard for this day, like Stuart Gaffney and Molly McKay Williams. President Barack Obama even went before the cameras with a celebration message.
 
I won't pretend that the whole world just changed.  I won't pretend that there is not still a lot of work to do.  I won't pretend that everyone is happy about this and is celebrating.  We do have reason for joy though.  We do have reason to hope for brighter tomorrows.  Things just got a little better.  History was made!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

He said what?

Some folks say that any word should be allowed to be said. Isn't that partly what Freedom of Speech is all about? Does a vulgar vocabulary have a place in polite society, or should some words simply never be spoken? What about using just letters? Is WTF alright or saying "the F word," or even "the N word" when we all know what words are being referred to?

Pejorative words about individuals is not the same thing as cursing or talking graphically about sex acts, but both are types of language that have been discussed a lot lately. Are decency and respect linked to the way we talk to each other and about each other?

President Barack Obama uttered the N word in making a point yesterday, during an interview. The President was talking about racism and some outlets that carried the conversation bleeped the word, while others broadcast it exactly as Mr Obama said it. There has been a lot of discussion since.  Let's carry it a little farther - was the President wrong in using the word?  Is there ever a case when that word can be uttered?  Should folks be allowed to say anything they like?
 
What do YOU think?  I'd really like to hear from you.  Please leave your comments below, but please be respectful as you do so.  Thanks!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Life-Changing Story

I have to tell you the words below today are not mine, but this story, which has been circulating on the internet, really touched me. I have no idea of the author, but I am so glad this was written. Please read on -


Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.
 
I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn't be afraid. As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage. I didn't want her to know that I hadn't been walked today. Sometimes the overworked shelter keepers get too busy and I didn't want her to think poorly of them.
 
As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn't feel sad about my past. I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone's life.
 
She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me. I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her. Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship. A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.
 
Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms. I would promise to keep her safe. I would promise to always be by her side. I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.
 
I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. So many more are out there who haven't walked the corridors. So many more to be saved. At least I could save one.
 
I rescued a human today.

Noah's Run for Rare

Right now the state of Arizona is being crossed by a man who has come all the way across the country to bring awareness to rare diseases. That might sound a bit odd, but Noah Coughlan is really making a difference, by bringing awareness and also raising money for the 30 million Americans and affected by rare diseases.

It began when he was touched by two different people who had Spielmeyer-Vogt-Sj√∂gren-Batten disease, a very rare, fatal brain disease.  While Batten disease is what got him running, he is now bringing awareness to any rare disease.

I've never met this guy, and all that I know about him is from television reports and the internet.  I sure am impressed though.  This is one of those situations I talk about here every day, where someone sees a need, and does something about it. Noah is a true hero.  Spend a few minutes with his website at https://www.run4rare.org/ and you will be filled with so much information. You'll also be filled with hope. Run For Rare is a documentary chronicling Noah Coughlan's transcontinental run, and two prior runs, and you can also find out more about the film on his website too.

Soon, he'll be back in California, but his amazing work is far from over. You can help him by spreading the word and also by donating. As he says on his site: Every Life Matters. We don't hear about rare diseases and so work on treating them and curing them, doesn't come as quickly and as easily as the better known ailments. Thanks to Noah's Run for Rare, that is changing.