“When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.”
– Bayard Rustin
This week the National Association for the Advancement of Colored people, one of the oldest civil right organizations in the nation, filed papers with the court to join the struggle of appealling proposition 8 and continued to foster allyship with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.
NAACP national board chair Julian Bond and president and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous stated the following in a letter the legislature:
“The NAACP’s mission is to help create a society where all Americans have equal protection and opportunity under the law,” said Jealous. “Our mission statement calls for the ‘equality of rights of all persons.’ Prop. 8 strips same-sex couples of a fundamental freedom, as defined by the California State Supreme Court. In so doing, it poses a serious threat to all Americans. Prop 8 is a discriminatory, unprecedented change to the California Constitution that, if allowed to stand, would undermine the very purpose of a constitution and courts–assuring equal protection and opportunity for all and safeguarding minorities from the tyranny of the majority.”
This is a brilliant and historic move in coalition building and an admirable move towards a humanistic vision that values shared leadership in unity as well as autonomus groups. It’s also a very mature moment and I hold great respect for the NAACP with this motion as the GLBT community and the very publication I linked to (I could not find as comprehensive reporting from another source at this time) has been divise and childish with the “gay is the new black” cover stories and rhetoric, placing useless and false blame on communities of color for the defeat, and harnessing the tools of racism to channel petty heirarchies of oppression.
I imagine the beautiful Bayard Rustin smiling down on all of us as we go forth. He was an openly gay human rights activist who lead pivotal actions in the Black Freedom Movement among many others yet suffered greatly for his authenticity. I imagine he would be proud of this day and the growing wisdom and maturing of our Movements. For those of us who share multiple identities and communities, it’s always exciting to see them working at the intersections together.
As Audre Lorde often said, we have chosen the edge of each other’s battles and while we may be marching in the same direction it does not mean we are playing the same instrument or marching to the same drum. It means that we are committed to a future.
All we have is today, the learnings of those who came before us yesterday and a commitment to a future. News like this reminds me to appreciated the common dream of love and freedom we do have.
Have a moment? Take a look at the life and times of this “Brother Outsider” and the work for freedom across generations.