Start With Love

He started a humanitarianism meeting with “First I start with Love because I love every one.”

I can’t even remember the gentlemen’s name but we would go on to discuss inclusion and how as a nation we humanitarians must practice inclusion. Including everyone in all aspects of life means you think about the other person’s reasoning for wanting to exclude others. It made us think about other people’s biases towards our causes and why they were valid, not right, but valid. Confused? I was too. That is until he stated that “No one can consider themselves a person who cares about the human race and not practice inclusion for all.” He included that even when we don’t understand we must help others see the value in inclusion.

As a person who loves people also, I’ve always seen a need to sit in rooms and have open discussions with those who don’t particularly care for my skin color, my size, my community and my being a woman. I have been discriminated against on all levels.

Sitting in rooms unashamed of their opinions took some getting used to. Explaining why my viewpoint and my kind needed to be represented there was something I stopped doing long ago. I just represent! I don’t need justification or an agreed upon invite to know that my representing any group is needed and required.

Now I find myself representing for an additional reason, being an ally for the LGBTQ community.

Without full understanding or a need to I am representing and making sure I am in meetings where their voices are being heard.

I say without understanding because there are allies who don’t understand pronouns and all the beautiful intricate pieces of how their puzzles work, but hell, I don’t even understand all of mine. I actually don’t like the fact that I’m using the words them and theirs in this blog and would love replacements. Open to suggestions!

Them and theirs sounds like exclusion. Sounds like I am labeling or categorizing or deeming someone different from me. I’ve been the odd woman out before and it doesn’t feel good. Then again It always works in my favor when I am representing for the US’s or the We’s. Those of us whose voices were needed to launch initiatives like the women’s movement, or Black Girls Rock, or programs that serve the underprivileged. Yeah, I feel okay representing for them. I’ve loved a lot of them my whole life.

My uncle and his partner who I’ve always known as uncle, too. I frequented their home on a regular basis as a child and never looked at them as anything other than family. What about the cousins I love? We’ve talked about business deals and how the family needs to come together and just how fun it was hanging out with one another at my house. How about those close friends who came out the closet one day and revealed that they’ve always known, but the church would surely condemn them if they found out. Or the ones who’ve walked streets with me representing for the same causes my skin represents. What about them all, the ones I know and the ones you know?

You see them, you see them needing Allies. You see them needing to be included in your conversations about changes in issues that affect humanity. Why don’t you include them? Your lack of understanding doesn’t qualify as an answer – someone didn’t understand your cause. Why don’t you include them? Your judgement about them not being deserving doesn’t qualify as an answer – you didn’t deserve grace. Why don’t you include them? Your not knowing what to call them or not liking that they call themselves him, her, other or whatever doesn’t qualify either. Some of you were seen as a trader as a white person on the front line of the civil rights movement. Or a man at the pink hat march with your wife. Or the time you were glad that a big girl represented despite fashionistas who say we should look like them. We all just trynna help others overcome whatever.

Now don’t get me wrong here! If you deem yourself not capable of being included in this journey toward full inclusion so be it, we bid you peace. But one thing we demand is that you don’t get in the way of progress. Practicing inclusion comes in different levels. Hopefully, by not hindering us, one day you will join us.

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