I should begin by saying I’m not the greatest fan of Tara Servatius. I rarely, if ever, agree with what she writes or says. However, she highlights in her Creative Loafing column this week a sentiment from a local African-American leader with which I can both relate and agree.
Discussing the proposed streetcar line, and local leaders’ promises to the African-American community, Servatius writes:
Mattie Marshall, president of the Washington Heights community in the Beatties Ford corridor, sounded like a civil rights orator when she reamed the Charlotte City Council for not completing the streetcar sooner last week. And in a way, it was a civil rights speech.
“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired of waiting and living on empty promises,” she said. “I’m a citizen.” Marshall went on to remind them that the African-American community had “stood strong” for the half-cent sales tax in 2007.
So, borrowing from Ms. Marshall (she sounds like a great person, by the way — I want to meet her), let me elaborate on other frustrations with local government:
“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired of waiting and living on empty promises,” I say. “I’m a citizen.” I’m going on to remind you that LGBT community members have been “standing strong” behind local Democratic leaders — with our time, energy, money and votes — for years. What do we have to show for our years and years of loyalty? Pretty much nada.
Maybe the local LGBT community should team with African-American leaders? After all, both minority communities keep getting the shaft from local leaders.
After all is said and done, I nver cease to be amazed at the inability to look forward. Instead of getting angry because we feel our pockets are empty, should we not celebrate the lives we live instead of mouring the lives we do not yet have?
Yes, I would love to wake up in a world tomorrow where everything I am is perfectly acceptable to everyone around me. But that will not happen. Instead of being angry that the promises made to us are not coming to fruition soon enough, how about we get excited by what we are getting.
Prop 8 passed, and is now struck down as unconstitutional. What does that mean for us, a lot more than not passing Prop 8 ever would have! Instead of being given something to shut us up, we earned a victory! The same way we have our homes, and our jobs, and our other freedoms, we earned this victory. No handouts needed. It is time to quit asking “please sir may I have some more?” And time to start working toward our goals without waiting for the rest of the world to give us our rights? Fight every law, file every law suit we can, and earn the rights we deserve through our own hard work.
It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly expecting a different outcome. So why as intelligent men and women do we stand here begging for our rights, having been down this road so many times before and knowing that asking has not, and will not, get us the freedoms enjoyed by others? Are we insane, or can we learn to fight before another generation of LGBT Americans has to repeat our mistakes?
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