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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Janice Daniels' discussion with the high school's Gay Straight Alliance group

I am reprinting this from a post from a student on another public site. It is from Dec. 19, 2011.

A group of us met with the mayor on Thursday night and had a long, oftentimes tense conversation with her. I'm still floored by some of the ignorance she spouted, but she did seem to understand that people are hurt. She repeatedly refused to attend a GSA meeting, but invited the club to "her community center" at a time convenient for herself.
However, after a period of very serious talk about our experiences with bullying and suicides, she appeared to begin to understand that aspect of why what she did was wrong. Throughout all of this, she insisted that she, too, had been bullied, and so she wanted to stress forgiveness. We came to a compromise of sorts and decided to hold an event featuring her as a speaker called "Prevention, Healing, and Forgiveness" that would stress ending bullying, helping the victims recover, and forgiving those that did not mean to hurt others.

I think this is an excellent starting point because it will help bring the city back together, teach people that what they say can hurt, and help victims recover. But if we keep protesting, it will turn people away from the cause of LGBT rights as people will see the group as the bullies like some have already done. That being said, I also don't think one speech is enough, and that's why I'd like to meet with as many people as possible on Monday at the library (next door to City Hall) starting at 4:30 in the Cup and Chaucer (small cafe inside of the building) until 7. There, we can talk about our ideas of what to do next.

Here are some ideas I've had and have heard from others that I'd like to discuss:

1. Creating a non-profit or coalition of people and groups that works toward helping our community and surrounding region accept people for who they are ("Diverse Troy Coalition: Community Through Acceptance" or something along those lines).
2. Holding a bigger event, kind of like an ethnic fair on steroids, where different groups representing cultures, religions, and cliques come together and learn from each other. The mayor could give her speech there.
3. Holding a town hall of sorts on bullying, similar to Anderson Cooper's "Bullying: It Stops Here."

Basically, my goal is to turn this very negative experience into a positive campaign that speaks for the voiceless. I hope you all are still with me.

2 comments:

  1. I'm sick and tired of people who spout hate and bigotry acting like they're the victims, because the people they've targeted speak out against that hate. It floors me how many times we have to hear the "why are you so intolerant of my intolerance???" arguement. On the issue of LGBT rights in particular, it really is amazing that people believe this is a differing of opinions, instead of what it really is, fact vs. opinion. It's not one side chooses to live one way and the other side disagrees with that choice. It is, however, one side living their lives as they were wired to and the other side using religion to say it's an abomination. Even the Catholic Church is starting to use the words "sexual orientation" and are saying they realize God may have created you that way, but it's a test and you need to deny those feelings of love you develop. Just because you love another person, doesn't make it right, they say, if they're the same sex. One day love will win out, and this hate will be the utter minority. Until that day, however, we will continue to speak out against those that spout such hate. We will also forgive and accept those that show true remorse for their hurtful actions. The student is right that we don't want to appear as bullies, but we can't sit back and do nothing either...knowing when to stop and listen is as important as knowing when to start standing up for yourself.

    With that said, I am glad that the Mayor at least met with them. I do think that her speaking at an event like that would be a good show of faith and repentance versus the half-hearted apology she issued earlier. I like the way this student is thinking and I think this will turn into a positive campaign of acceptance and civility.

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  2. Is Daniels comparing the deservedly negative fallout she has gotten recently to the cruel bullying that impressionable children receive through no fault of their own as the same? If so, she certainly is a dense one.

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