An Open Letter to the Monroe County Fair Board

August 1, 2016

Monroe County Fair Associaton
PO Box 1446
Bloomington, IN 47404

cc: The Herald-Times

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:

I enjoy taking my two goddessdaughters (ages 8 and 13) to the fair each year in part for its celebration of American values. That’s why I was stunned and dismayed last Friday to see a vendor displaying a Confederate flag for sale.

I was overcome with emotions: outrage, nausea, even fear. I’m white — I can’t imagine how an African American would feel. And I was faced with the difficult decision of what to do: face down ignorance and even downright racism or keep my girls safe? I chose safety but I have been conflicted ever since.

The Southern white narrative about the flag is that it celebrates Southern culture. If that were true, there would be an awful lot of Southern African Americans flying that flag, too.

We cannot escape that flag’s history, first as a banner for the continuance of the lash, rape, and abomination of slavery and the concomitant treason against the federal government, then its symbolism of Jim Crow, then its adoption as the banner of the anti-civil rights movement. To this day it remains, along with the swastika, the pre-eminant symbol of white supremacy.

This is the flag of blood. This is the flag of oppression. This is the flag of Dylann Roof and white terrorism. Is it appropriate to sell such a thing at a family-friendly community event celebrating American values?

You would not approve the selling of Ku Klux Klan robes at the Monroe County Fair. I call on you to reject the legacy of white supremacism and put an end to the sale of Confederate flags.

 

Advertisements

Same-sex marriage in Indiana!

June 26, 2014

What a day! Got the email early this afternoon that same-sex marriage was now legal! I was cheering and crying and jumping all around and yet not sure it was really true. I posted the graphic from the email to Facebook to see what kind of response I would get. And then my newsfeed was overflowing with jubilation!

The next thing I saw was a photo from the HT of Rev Mary Ann Macklin of the Unitarian Universalist Church performing marriage ceremonies down at the Justice Building. It was real! The waterworks really started!

All afternoon I half-heartedly tried to work while bouncing back to Facebook constantly for some cyber-celebrating. I couldn’t focus on work. I just couldn’t believe that Indiana—small, provincial, idiotic Indiana—would do the right thing. Of course same-sex marriages were being performed in Bloomington—I have many friends who have already been married in other states or who have gone through religious ceremonies. But what blew me away was that this same jubilation could be happening in Highland, Indiana, the hellhole which spawned me, or even in tiny, backwards Monticello, Indiana where my parents live! Unbelievable! I just kept chanting, “The arc of history bends towards justice!” and jumping around the house.

Of course it didn’t even occur to me to head down to the Justice Building until five minutes after they closed. Totally kicking myself for that one. I would’ve loved to throw confetti on people and just surround them with joy. Then Jane posted a link: The UUs were hosting a community potluck celebration at 7—should I go? Talk about social anxiety. Eek! I had signed up for a class at the library and could imagine reasserting my business self and damping down all my energy to go learn coding. But a part of me said, “This is history. Participate!” Amy promised to hold my hand and that decided it for me.

I can’t tell you how many times I cried tonight. Rev Macklin had all the couples who got married today tell a little bit about how they felt. Two different couples had been together for 25 years. Twenty-five years and no recognition! Insane. A gay couple, “Jeff and Jeff,” talked about the fears they’d had—Jeff 1’s mother is in assisted living and he and Jeff 2 are her primary caregivers. Jeff 1 had been haunted by the thought that something might happen to him and Jeff 2 would have no legal recourse to have a say in Mom’s treatment. What a terrible burden to bear!

There were couples who’d already been married in Iowa, Vermont, and Maryland—states that paved the way for our freedom. But one of the couples said how much it meant to them to have a marriage certificate that said “Bloomington, Indiana” on it.

There was a couple there who were the only people to get married in Brown County today. They said the clerk was very enthusiastic and they even closed their offices a few minutes early so that all the staff could witness the ceremony! What a blessed day!

A campus activist said how he’d been hearing from alumni all day saying how proud they were to be Hoosiers—even though they lived in California! But today was a day for reaching out, for celebrating, for saying, “Yes, I rejoice, too—we are here, together.”

I rang the Attorney General’s office this afternoon to ask them not to appeal. I got the busy signal for a while but kept trying until I got through. The operator was very nice, which momentarily gave me hope. Then I remembered what state I live in. 🙂 But still, we must make our stands. An activist briefly talked us through next steps tonight. I am dying for this issue to go to the Supreme Court and for same-sex marriage to be definitively made the law of the land. I don’t know if I can trust the current Court with it, but I do believe that day will come.

Which reminds me, one of the women tonight said she and her wife had been holdouts. All their friends were getting married out-of-state and telling them to give up, that Indiana would never change. But they held on and held on—and the blessed day came. As I was leaving, another couple came in. They were at least in their 60s. The one pushed the other in a wheelchair, where she sat with an oxygen hose to her nose. Who knows how much time they had left together? But they got their day today. I can’t imagine the tension of watching your loved one fall into ill health and not have full citizenship to formalize your relationship. That’s injurious to society.

From my journal today:

I am so excited for love, love, LOVE! I am excited for justice. I am so sicted for my friends like Amanda and Kim and Erica and Jane and Rob and Tom. I am excited that these rights are being recognized because Pagan rights follow about ten years behind LGBTQI rights and that can only mean good things for us. I don’t have any plans to marry a woman but holy CRAP am I excited that I finally CAN!

I don’t know what the future holds but I am ready to fight. I know we will win this in the end. Let love rain down. Let it rain. Bright Blessings!