Participating in the National Equality March this past Sunday, October 11th, was one of the most sacred experiences of my life. I felt completely held and embraced by the crowd of people demanding rights for themselves, their families, friends and fellow citizens. I had never been a part of a protest that large nor with a message so strong and inclusive. We stood together on the side of love and demanded to be recognized as the free and equal people that we are. We were families, couples, neighbors and friends. We were transgender, gay, lesbian, and bisexual people and allies of many races, ages, genders, ethnicities, backgrounds, faiths and perspectives.
I marched with families who took turns holding the “Standing on the Side of Love” banner together. I marched with over 1,000 other UUs who came in cars, on buses and on the metro from Arlington, and Harrisonburg, VA. I marched with people carrying congregational banners from Tuscaloosa, AL and Brooklyn, NY. I marched singing UU hymns and it was like the street became my church. I marched because this energy will feed my work for the year to come, and I marched for all those who could not march with me and who are still silenced by fear and hate and oppression.
It takes much more than a march on our nation’s Capitol to change our world and our culture, but events like this weekend’s are what help me stay in the struggle for the long haul – and not because I can see the end in sight, but because they are a place from which to begin. I take strength and inspiration from a younger generation that understands more deeply than I the intersectionality of oppression and the necessity to link together all struggles for liberation. I remember the battles for justice fought by my elders in the hopes to leave a better world for their descendants. On the most basic level, a march like the National Equality March reminds me that I am not alone.
When we come together as many voices with one demand, that our country’s policies reflect the values that call us to love our neighbors and welcome the stranger, we can be powerful. May this weekend serve as a call to action for those who were there and those who were not to learn how they can work for equality by joining this movement, by talking to their friends and families about equality, and by telling their elected officials that they will no longer be silent because they deserve nothing less than their full rights as human beings. Amen.