Message from President March-April 2015

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.

Even if it was for a few moments…

There was great excitement and energy on March 3, 2015 when the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the ban on marriage. And for just a few days, you could see and hear the smiles all over the state from within the LGBTQ community. And even though we waited with bated breath to see if there would be an appeal made to stay the ban, thiaat least for those seconds, minutes, hours, days—we could see justice in this state. We still have hope as we wait for the U. S. Supreme Courts decision. We still have hope as we anticipate the Nebraska State Legislature to pass LB 586 which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We still hope for the freedom to marry is extended to include the LGBTQ community. We are still hopeful that discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, age, geography, religion, will soon be distinct that the dinosaur. We must move out of the stone ages and into postmodernity. Our future depends on what we do today. Let’s keep the fight going until we are victorious.
Thia Hartley