Saturday, November 17, 2018

When One Struggles, We All Struggle by Jeff Utnage

The military has a saying "One team, one fight." The first time I heard that was at an LGBT support group in prison. A non-LGBT veteran supporter said the term and it just resonated with the group. I was giving a workshop on team building, it couldn't have been more appropriate timing.

I have said this so many times, there is no equality until there is all equality. If one demographic struggles, we are all struggling. I know men who are learning to speak publicly just so they have a less than 1% chance of convincing our government they should stay here, despite the fact they have been here since infancy. We should all be supporting that.

Or the disproportionate incarceration rates of blacks, or the high homicide rates of any demographic, we should all care about that, as if it was our own fight.

The activists and advocates of our time should monumentalized as national heroes. The Angela Davis's and Andrea Ritchie's may have come in on the backs of giants but are now the giants of our time. Who knows where our country would be without them. They are not alone either, I could name hundreds of people who stand up for equality, period.

If one person isn't serviced somewhere, nobody should go there. Bigotry should be rewarded with social isolation, with healthy room for acceptance should that person decide to change their life course... they should be recognized for making such a change with social acceptance. Not judgment.

If all the marginalized groups in this country supported one another, LGBT folks, African Americans, southern immigrants, and women all marched together...imagine what that would do. The power of unity is incredible, there is a reason our government seeks to divide us, remember that. You can almost never get federal funding for equality, you must be fighting for a specific type, you must be divided.

Food for thought: When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?

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With Love
Jeff Jeffebelle Utnage
www.lgbtqprisonsupport.com

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