LGBTQ & BLMLGBTQ & BLM. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. Black Lives Matter.

I have been an advocate and worked for LGBTQ rights for many years. I have a vested interest in that cause. My son is gay. It is very personal to me.

While I’ve had many African American friends and acquaintances over the years, I never thought I had a personal interest in Black Lives Matter. Until these past two weeks.

What changed? Nothing for me, really. I didn’t suddenly get an African American relative. I suddenly opened my eyes and my hearts. I started to listen to those I know who are directly impacted. I started to see things in a different way.

I’ve been struggling with why this took me so long. I spoke with an old friend a few days ago. We’ve known each other for 40 years and in the early years, she was family to me. She was always included in my family events. My children loved her. My parents loved her. Everyone loved her. She is African American but that didn’t matter to me. And it should have.

Not because we are different but because I never opened myself up to her life experiences. I never asked her how it was for her. I never once thought about how she had to raise her son differently than I raised mine.

My life habit is to belittle myself. That won’t do me any good now. What matters now is what am I going to do today, this week, this month, this year and in the years to come. What matters is that I continue to open my eyes and my heart. What matters is that I learn all I can.

I was in high school during the civil rights marches in the 60’s. I couldn’t go march with them. I’m not sure I would have if I could. I was not a very brave person. And I guess I’m not much braver today. I watch all the people out marching and marvel. I’m 71 years old. I’m in high risk for covid-19. I’m afraid of being pushed and injured. I want to be brave; I want to go out and march and make my voice heard.

This is one way I know to make my voice heard. I will continue to advocate for Black Lives Matter as I did for marriage equality. I will do what I can when I can. I will speak up. I will what I can do to make a difference because black lives do matter.

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