I realized shortly after the election that I need to do something…something to move myself and the causes that I care about forward. It’s still early, and I don’t yet know what shape my actions will take, though I’ve assured my husband that I’m not going to do anything radical…that’s not my style. I’m practical and execution oriented, so I’ve begun looking for practical ideas to execute. I’ve already settled on my first few.
First, I’m working to reassure terrified family, friends, and strangers, including the West African Muslim woman in Minnesota shouted at to “Go home, you’re not wanted here!”, though she was, indeed, born here. I assured her that the man who yelled that was the minority, and not her. I’ve chosen to begin wearing a safety pin as a “safety zone” sign for those like that woman who’ve been persecuted for their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. I’ve signed MoveOn’s electronic petition to elect a New Democratic party chair. I hope that both parties will learn lessons from what millions of Americans voted to tell us, but I can fight to make sure that at least the opposition party does. And I’ve written letters to my Congressmen – all of them – to let them know that I expect their support fighting acts of overt racism and aggression. We can’t afford to go backward on civil rights and basic human decency. This is America, after all, Reagan’s “shining city on a hill.” I encourage you to write to them as well – let them hear from thousands of us. Feel free to copy, and here’s where to find your congressperson:
Dear Congressman _________,
I’m writing to let you know that your constituents need and expect you to condemn and strongly support enforcement to fight the examples of harassment being reported. As a key political leader, we need you to stand up for the rights of all of our citizens and help set a tone that intolerance won’t be tolerated. You can make a difference in protecting all of your constituents, particularly those most vulnerable. Voices of authority will be especially heard.
Thank you in advance for your support of basic human decency and protection of the rights of all our citizens.
Kelly J. McCleary
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” –Martin Luther King Jr.