Yesterday, I joined the GetEqual picket for ENDA on Capitol Hill. About 20 of us met on the corner just across the street from the Library of Congress and the Cannon House office building. For about an hour, we marched around the block, watched by cops and protected by organizers and a legal observer. We yelled our hearts out to all who could hear that we wanted to see ENDA passed and workplace discrimination made illegal in this country.
Seeing the effectiveness of actions like this can be hard for me, but feeling them isn’t. As I marched and screamed, I thought of all of the privileges that brought me to Capitol Hill, my income, my education, and not least of all, the fact that not only do I have a job, but I have a job that encourages me to participate in such actions. Not everyone is just as blessed, yet it should be their right. Yesterday, I was screaming for everyone that has ever been fired, harassed and harmed in an unsafe workplace because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
I screamed for transgender people all over the country who are fighting for their very right to exist and being denied jobs and human dignity for just having the courage to live into their truest selves. Witnessing their struggle challenges me to use my gifts and talents to do the same.
As I marched, I saw more than a few people stare past us and continue on to wherever they were going in the same way that I’ve often passed pickets and protests. One can grow a thick skin living in this town where change is slow and one’s voice is rarely heard through “official channels”. But I also saw people smiling at us and nodding their heads to the beat of our chants. People walked by in the black and blue suits of Congressional office staff and chanted with us as our paths crossed. Members of Congress passed us on their way to or from their offices. We drew the attention of everyone on the block and people came out of their offices and onto the balcony of the Cannon House office building to see us. I remembered that small groups of people can have an impact, even if it’s a loud and mostly symbolic reminder to those in power that we and the people we represent will no longer be silent and we’re not going away.
The UUA is part of a larger effort to pass legislation that upholds the human right to earn a living with dignity, and I am bound by my humanity, to play a role in that effort.You can make your voice heard by taking action today and emailing your elected officials about ENDA