What an amazing time to be alive! — to witness the activism of no shame, to know nothing compares to love.
It has been 50 years since Stonewall, when the LGBTQ Community (including persons of color, transgenders and drag queens) stood up against the brutality of the police and the silence of society. It was a revolution; the beatings and arrests (now part of our history) gave way to the first Gay Pride march one year later in New York City – evidence that love will conquer all.
Many things have happened since then — the crisis of HIV/AIDS hit the LGBTQ Community and our nation was falling into graves; 111 people protested against Cardinal O’ Connor, laying on the floor of the Cathedral of St. Patrick. The Cardinal during that time refused to allow instruction about condoms in AIDS education programs in the schools, hospitals and youth programs of the Archdiocese of New York (despite the approval of such an approach by his fellow bishops). The beauty of resilience stands ever strong in our history of the LGBTQ movement.
We have come a long way. But let us never forget those who fought for us, like Harvey Milk; and the many who lost their lives to violence, like Matthew Shepard; and those who committed suicide because of bullying or abandonment. I am proud to be a part of history and to see gay marriage become legal and the beauty of our Transgendered Brothers and Sisters coming to their true selves.
Being a Dominican Associate has given me the opportunity to see myself as loved for who I am; and has challenged me to preach peace and truth to those who are struggling to understand my LGBTQIA+ community.
Volunteering at the Kansas City Center for Inclusion in Missouri has become my personal ministry. To be present in hospitality and to carry out the center’s mission of being there for the LGBTQIA+ community via education, resources, offering a safe space for members of the community and friends to gather for support groups and activities. Our organization is one of charity and we are called, most of all, to save lives in our community and society. I continue to echo the words of St. Catherine of Siena to “be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
The Revolution of No Shame allows me to sit at the table with Jesus because the truth is: we all belong, and peace belongs to us all.
Now, I ask you to take my hand and pass on the olive branch, while we continue to bring change and become activists of peace for all people, including the LGBTQIA+ community, People of Color, Immigrants, Sexual Assault Survivors, the Incarcerated, the Disabled, etc. Stand with me against the injustices of all the isms — Racism, Sexism, Heterosexism, Classism, Ageism, Ableism, etc.
St. Catherine proclaimed the truth and did not let fear silence her. We must always do the same. Let us not live by ignorance and in fear. Instead, let us be dedicated to the passing of the olive branch, from hand to hand.