New Publications in Cognoscenti & The Daily Freeman
I've been inspired to write more political content in the months since the elections, and I have a feeling I'm not alone in this. As a queer writer, writing is how I respond to the world and process my emotions. My novel tells the story of a young bisexual woman who becomes an activist when she's outraged beyond her breaking point. Despite telling her story, I've never been a front-lines sort of person myself. I'm more the sign a petition online, donate money, feel outraged, eat some ice cream.
Yet over the last couple years I've noticed subtle shifts from being a passive ally toward an active person who is willing to speak out (or write out, as the case may be).
With the global refugee crisis, I was despondent. Sending money seemed like the only way I could help... until an interfaith, intergenerational coalition near me started a movement to resettle refugees in the Hudson Valley. Then there was *actual stuff* I could do to support migrants.
It felt really energizing and good to physically contribute goods and time to this cause, not just money.
Yet even as many folks here welcomed the idea of resettling refugees, some of our neighbors were incensed. Their arguments were typical "bigotry disguised as dedication to upholding the law" crap... it's hard to respect that argument when those giving it are only on U.S. soil thanks to the legal or illegal immigrant further up their family tree and don't acknowledge their privilege.
As the city near me debated whether to become a welcoming & affirming city for immigrants (basically a sanctuary city, but without the name) I attended the 4-hour long debate. That night, a local guy told his story of coming to the U.S. illegally and trying (for 20 years!) to become a citizen and doing everything right and still being denied.
It sounds cliched but a hush really did fall over the room as he explained that he'd been given 30 days to leave his wife, teenaged son and business to go back to Mexico. Even the opponents of the resolution said they didn't want "people like him" to leave, but they wanted immigrants to "go through the legal channels."
The next day, I wrote a letter supporting his petition to stay in the U.S. I also wrote a letter to the editor calling on those who were affected by his story to lend their support.
Along with the recent letter, I wrote a lengthy blog post for Cognoscenti addressing the spike in hate crimes after the election, and my experience dealing with homophobia and racism as a queer gender-noncomforming Bostonian.
I've never been as harassed as I was in Boston, despite the city's liberal image. It's honestly part of the reason I moved to the country.
Sharing these stories felt good... and it was easier than I thought it would be. So if you have something bugging you, use your voice. You never know who you can help in the process.