Read the essay below.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
When Others Are Oppressed
There he was, Sean Penn, masterfully playing Harvey Milk in the current and timely film, MILK. I sat there for two hours completely absorbed, humored, impassioned, and ultimately, deeply saddened and grieved. I couldn’t help but to think about a line from a Greg Brown song: “why does good change take so long?” Why do we, as human beings, take so much joy in seeing others oppressed, others suffer?
MILK is a movie about Harvey Milk,
I thought about the suicides of Bill B. and the thousands of gay, lesbian, and transgender youth and adults who were hated, tortured, teased, ostracized, and/or judged by a world built out of sands of fear. I thought about parents who reject their children because they believe being gay is a choice. I thought about Jesus and how it would grieve him to see his children suffer at the hands of those who claim to know him. I thought about myself, and how my struggle as a black, heterosexual male is defeated if I can’t speak out and up for my brothers and sisters who are gay, Hispanic/Latino, Asians, women, transgender, physically challenged, elderly, Muslim, Jewish, raped, abused, hungry, or voiceless. Is not my cause their cause? Can any of us truly be free when others are oppressed?
I thought about
I thought about the tears Harvey Milk, had he not been assassinated, would be weeping on this past election day. I thought about my family and loved ones who are gay/lesbian/transgender. I thought about shackles and yellow stars and closets. I thought about bombs falling and government lists and associations and accusations. I thought about my daughter, and the world we are passing on to her. And I cried. And I thought about my tears, and how I weep for the gay community, and how I stand with them because my struggle is their struggle. And their struggle is my struggle. “We are all in this together. We are all in this alone.” – Pierce Pettis
“And you’ve got to elect gay people, so that child and the thousands and thousands like that child know that there’s hope for a better world; there’s hope for a better tomorrow. Without hope, not only gays, but those blacks, those Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the Us’s . . . without hope, the Us’s give up. I know you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. You, you, and you got to give them hope.” – Harvey Milk