I woke up this morning, earlier than I wanted to, thinking about those 30 students who stayed after school to form a GSA, or Common Ground, or Acceptance and Tolerance, or whatever else they decide to call themselves group. I began to imagine a conversation with those who believe strongly that this group is wrong, or that if we pray enough we can change them, or whatever other arguments they may bring to the table.
Toward those who may stand on the outside and point their fingers, I began to feel angry and defensive about my G-Town students who are moving forward saying that everyone deserves to be treated well, that we need to accept everyone for who they are, that we must respect one another, support one another and protect one another. I feel protective of them, proud of their self-advocacy, and inspired by their desire to stand up for one another.
I know there will be those who judge them, and me for my support. And those who judge will most likely be those who rely on teachings that should inspire them to do anything but that. It’s ironic that those who may judge the most harshly won’t see beyond their own beliefs to the beauty of teenagers looking for acceptance and respect for every child. I will be there loving each child for himself, in all her differences, on W.K.’s “common ground”. I will remember that we live in a country where every man, woman, and child has the right to say what he or she believes, without prosecution. And on my watch in G-Town, without condemnation or fear.