It’s not white rights, not affluent rights, not straight rights.
Human. Human rights. That means equality for all 7 billion of us, regardless of any other label, condition, preference or belief.
The only requirement is human.
This summer I’ve been working with Grassroots Campaigns raising money for the Marriage Equality campaign and to help pass ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Yesterday, I was canvassing on 3rd and Mission in San Francisco, and an old homeless man pushing his wheelchair approached me and asked me what my campaign for the day was. When I told him that it was gay rights, he said, “Oh, wow, that’s something I really believe in. Let me see what I can give you.”
He activated the breaks on his wheelchair and sat down, pulled out a box of cigarettes and looked at all the money he had in the world.
“Are you sure, sir?” I asked.
“Absolutely, I’m asking people for money all the time. This is something I believe in, so I might as well give you money.”
He looked in the box which contained $8.
“I have to save $3 for the bus, but here, I can give you $5.” he said.
“Only if you’re absolutely sure, sir.” I said, absolutely awed.
“I am. God bless you.” he said, and started hobbling away.
After that, I couldn’t help but be disgusted by all the people walking by with their designer bags and fancy, expensive clothes who wouldn’t give me the time of day, or said that they couldn’t afford to give money away that day. I’ve only been working for three days, but this job has already changed my life.
Please, try to remember that you have a lot more to give than you may realize, and that the $5 you could use to buy a coffee could be used to make a real change in the world.
The day that I came to SSU was also the day that I broke up with my boyfriend of five years. It was one of the worst days I’d experienced, and I was completely convinced that college would hold nothing but heavy work-loads and loneliness. However, it was only three weeks in that I met Kenny, and the last eight months with him have been some of the happiest of my life.
At the beginning of school, I went to a lecture in which a woman was talking about her first heart-break, and how two weeks later, she was approached by a very nice guy. She told us that she said no at first, because it seemed too soon, since she and her ex had been dating for three years. However, she decided that instead of wasting her life being sad, she should pick herself up and keep moving, keep experiencing. And she encouraged all of us to do the same. It was some of the best advice I’ve ever heard; no one deserves our sadness, and it’s up to us to create our own happiness.
This year has been the best I’ve had in a really, really, really long time. And not just because of Kenny. I discovered a new passion in the newspaper, as well as wonderful new friends on the Editorial Board, as well as in my FIG group and my classes. I got to experience all kinds of new things, and I joined an incredible sorority full of sisters that I absolutely love.
On a more personal level, I don’t think I’ve been this emotionally stable or this consistently happy since I was a child — for at least a decade. And now, sitting here in the half-packed room I’ve been sharing with Kenny, I can’t believe that it’s all ending. It’s a paradox; on the one hand I feel as though I just got here yesterday…but at the same time, I don’t even feel very connected to the life I lead before coming to college. I feel like an entirely different person than I was a year ago. And I have no complaints about that.
Yes, the school year started out with heartbreak and sadness, but I became so much stronger, so much more independent and self-confident because of it, and I met some incredible people whom I hope to have in my life for a long time to come.
Tomorrow, I leave SSU for the summer. I’ll be going home to good ol’ SR and Kenny will be heading down south to where he lives. We’re gonna be separated, but we’re more than ready to give long-distance a shot, and in all honesty, I’m not worried at all. Yes, I’m going to miss him terribly. I mean, after all, I’ve gotten used to basically living with him over the last semester. But I know I’m going to get through it, and I’m gonna have a blast working in the city this summer.
To sum it up, I have never been so happy, nor have I ever been so sad to leave a place. Sonoma has become my home, and my family is here with it, and I’m going to miss it all so much.
But…I will be back(: