Message from President January 2015

thia

Fighting Fear
Can you remember the first scary movie that you watched? Do you really remember how you felt afterwards? Were you watching the movie with a group of friends who didn’t want to let you know that they were as afraid as you were? Or maybe you were watching with friends who tried to prove everything was fake. The blood is fake. The teeth aren’t real. Going down there (wherever there may be) is stupid because the demon possessed child Regan (The Exorcist), Freddy Krueger (Nightmare on Elm Street), Jason (Friday the 13th) or Hannibal Lecther (Silence of the Lambs) are right there?!
Even though these characters are fictitious, fear is real. Fear is the impetus for so much hate. We should ask ourselves, “What makes me really afraid? Why am I afraid to get to know someone for who they are on the inside, not for the outward packaging that may be scary because it is different or strange? At least in the scary movies, folks face their biggest fears.
Xenophobia is a Greek word that comes from xeno (strange or foreign) and phobia (fear) and is defined simply as an unreasoned fear of the perceived strange or foreign. If we take an honest assessment of our fears, no matter who we are, we have had xenophobic moments or encounters. Maybe the parents at Lincoln Public Schools were more afraid of the unknown so our quest may be to conquer fear with relationship building. Maybe the white LGBTQ community is afraid of the LGBTQ community of color. Maybe Republicans are afraid of Democrats. Maybe dogs are afraid of cats. Unfortunately, terrorists use fear as an intentional strategy to polarize and paralyze—to keep us afraid.

Happy New Year!

With the new year comes so many opportunities to start anew. And whatever new resolutions that we may make, we hope that Nebraska can resolve to join countless other states to end discriminatory practices for the LGBT community. Certainly the start of this new legislative session has offered great hope with what is affectionately dubbed as the “Equality Agenda,” that would offer fairness and equality for all Nebraskans. We are thankful for the moral fortitude and courage of our advocates in the legislature, on the city council and in the community. Let us each hold our elected officials accountable as we continue to ensure the state’s motto of “Equality before the law!” I challenge each to never grow complacent or become apathetic to any issue that affects the human rights of all!
Thia Hartley