“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
June 2016 is Pride Month for the LGBT community. It is not a month to focus on what others think or believe, but to focus inward. It is an implied permission slip that you can be who you are, to those that have hidden their identity for far too long or been penalized for it. It is a celebration of individuality, with others who take pride in themselves, and in turn you. It is a celebration of love, without regard to possible prejudice or hate.
“…love is love and … no person should be judged by anything but the content of their character.”- President Barack Obama
Prejudice stems from ignorance, without the benefit of empathy. Ignorance is a lack of understanding. Knowledge conquers ignorance. Empathy requires thought.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
On Sunday morning a friend informed me about the terrible events in Orlando last Saturday evening, during this very same Pride Month. While we were talking, a group of friends walked by wearing their Gay Neighbors, Families & Friends (GNFF) shirts. We hugged each other and I asked if there was a Pride event that day. The response was “No, we just wanted to be together.”
In community, my friends were seeking solace. In their attire they were silently demonstrating their pride in themselves, and in the Orlando community, and I applaud them for that. I am proud to call them my friends. An injustice was done to that community, but it is a threat beyond one community.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”- Declaration of Independence
This was an act against life, liberty and happiness- not just the LGBT community. No matter your political or religious views, it is events like this that should cause us to come together in the defense of our unalienable rights. It is an opportunity to support our individuality, educate ourselves on our differences, empathize with each other, and build a stronger community. That is what I will do with my friends and neighbors.
Will you please join us?
How to be Neighborly: Eliminate Ignorance. Celebrate Diversity. Support Liberty. Generate Happiness.