Maryland Boy Scout Troop Gay-Friendly but Boy Scout Council Isn’t

Boy Scouts of America Asks Troop to Remove Non-Discrimination Policy on Their Website

Pack 442 of Cloverly, Maryland almost lost their charter, member insurance, rank badges, and scout camps last week over its gay-friendly policy. The troop had until January 26th to remove their non-discrimination policy statement or face expulsion from The Boy Scouts of America.

Boy Scouts’ Longstanding Ban on Openly Gay Scouts or Leaders

Confirmed to NBC News, Les Baron, Scout Executive of the National Capital Area Council (NCAC), told the Troop that it had until Friday, January 25, at 8 p.m. to decide if they will keep the gay-inclusive policy and risk not being rechartered, or return to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.  Baron said “ all I’m trying to do is maintain the quality and integrity of the Boy Scouts of America and its policies.”

Pack’s Gay-Friendly Policy Voted on Last August

Member families voted and “overwhelmingly approved”  Pack’s 442  non-discrimination policy last August and its chartering organization supported the decision.  From August through October 2012, district leaders and the council discussed the policy in detail.

The policy read: “Pack 442 will NOT discriminate against any individual or family based on race, religion, national origin, ability, or sexual orientation.”

Substitute Policy In-Place

Just recently, the NCAC contacted  Pack 442 leaders to have the Troop rescind its policy on their website.  Rather than lose its charter, the Pack replaced its statement to read:

“Due to pressure from the National Capital Area Council (NCAC) of BSA, Pack 442 was forced to remove its Non-Discrimination statement in order to keep our Charter (set to expire Jan 31st). This Non-Discrimination statement, previously posted here, welcomed ALL families.”

Boy Scout Anti-Gay Ban Unfavorable to Many

The Boy Scouts of America is facing increasing pressure from dissatisfied scouts, present and former, to rescind their ban.  Former Boy Scouts have mailed in their badges in protest of the BSA’s current policy of excluding gay scouts and leaders.  A scout in California who completed all his merit badges and was eligible for the Eagle Award in scouting has been denied the honor because he is gay. The organization has lost funding from the Intel Corporation and United Parcel Service, among others, because of their opposition to be inclusive.

Boyscouts to end ban on gays

Breaking news:  No details as of yet, but a spokesperson for the Boyscouts of America indicates it will end the restrictions against gay youth from joining their ranks.  The organization has come under increasing pressure after activists such as Zach Wahls, an Eagle scout with two lesbian mothers. Wahls founded the organization Scouts for Equality, which collected more than 1.2 million signatures opposing the anti-gay policy.  Scouts for equality includes 3,151 other Eagle Scouts within its roll. Details to follow.

Groovin’ With the Flow

There are many forces in nature that influence our lives, both seen and unseen.  In terms of those forces that are visible to us, we are beholden to the elements, and the natural Earthly phenomenon that we have no control over, such as storms, climatic variations and such other occurrences that can cause disruptions in our daily routines.  We learn to deal with these natural events by adapting to the consequences of any after effects caused by natural phenomenon and get back into the groove of life after any disruption subsides.

Unseen forces impacting our lives are much harder to discern, but they are no less dramatic in their impact and how they influence our day-to-day decisions as well as the longer term decisions we make.  There is an interconnectedness with the universe and its power and our lives and the lives of others.  It is this natural power that creates equilibrium, and when we are one with the source of universal power, our lives seem to flow a bit smoother and the meaning of our lives is much more focused.  When we are “groovin’ with the flow”, we are open to personal growth and greater awareness of life and its meaning and our impact on others and the broader well being of society generally.

Sometimes we need to take a “breather” in order to regroup, rethink and strategize, which can cause temporary disequilibrium.  I like to refer to these moments as “alone time” where we make a conscious and purposeful decision to just live within ourselves in order to reassess things.

Our lives are full of distractions and tangents, and without a clear understanding of our personal mission, we can tend to get “stuck” and get out of our natural flow.  This is normal and healthy.  The key to moving forward is to jump back into our natural flow, with a better comprehension of our lives.  It is like a river; sometimes we need to just get out of its powerful flow and sit on the side for a while to rest.

As I have mentioned before in prior writings, our path forward involves reaching a number of plateaus of personal growth, where we can take a moment and reflect on how we arrived there, and what needs to be done to move to the next plateau of our life.  There can be a natural tendency to voluntarily stay at a particular plateau because it’s comfortable or we have not yet learned what we need to know in order to move forward.

The universe can also create involuntary “stopovers.”  I have noticed lately, that when I reach a certain level of personal awareness, I have been challenged to make a decision to make changes in my life that will unfetter me, and allow me to move to the next plateau..  The universe, in its infinite wisdom, does this by returning us to our past and reminds us of some prior habits and routines that characterized those past periods of our lives.  We are given a choice to decide if we wish to cling to those old routines or discard them and find a new outlook on life and broader paradigms of thought outside of what we are used to.  Once we make a decision, we are immersed back into our natural flow based on decisions made at the plateau.  Unfortunately, many of us, myself included, have at times decided they weren’t ready to move forward for whatever reason, and opted to cling to old routines and habits, thus delaying our arrival to our ideal state of being.

As a queer individual, this concept of “groovin with the flow” is one I take to heart very much.  As I look back upon my life in the closet, my natural flow was being disregarded.  I was not living the life I was supposed to and was trying to be someone I was not.  Because I was living behind a false facade, this period was turbulent, unstable and overall very disruptive to my psyche and basic understanding of my purpose and mission in life.

The past few years, I have been on a remarkable path of personal development and self-awareness,  I am now at a juncture, at which I am now being immersed in memories of old ways of life, and being given an opportunity to clearly understand and compare what it would mean to continue to cling to old thought patterns, habits and routines that may not be the best ones to carry forward into a subsequent journey forward to a new plateau.

I truly believe I am being a given a choice to decide what I want to retain and carry forward with me and what I want, and need, to leave behind.  I am at the point where I realize I must let some things go while at the same time accepting them as part of me.  It is time to tuck them away as memories of what was, but cannot be any longer.  While I am somewhat sad to have to do that with some, it is a necessary step in order to “groove with the flow.”

What is it that is preventing you from “groovin’ with the flow?”  What do you need to cast off from your past in order to create equilibrium in your life?  Decide what is tethering you from moving forward and unleash the power that is within you already for achieving your personal greatness.

Go Proud Claims It Supports Same-sex Marriage

Once Reticent, It Now Begins Work at State & Local Levels

The Tea Party Branch for Gay Republicans, GoProud, announced on January 18, 2013, that it supports marriage equality for gays and lesbians. GoProud’s Board of Directors decided to begin work at the state and local level. They even point to Democratic President Barack Obama’s support of same-sex marriage as a factor in changing their policy.

Worked Exclusively on Federal Issues in the Past

The GoProud Board of Directors released a press release on January 18th which delineates the change of opinion:  “Because marriage has been a state issue since the founding of our country, we have had no official position on marriage or relationship recognition.  We have supported, and continue to support, the repeal of DOMA, and we oppose any effort to federalize marriage through a constitutional amendment.”

Since its founding by two Log Cabin Republicans, Jimmy LaSalvia and Chris Barron, in 2009, GoProud has always opposed the federal Defense of Marriage Act ( DOMA), but has been complacent about advocating in support of same-sex marriage.

Federalists’ Stance

In their January 18, 2013 statement, the group declared that they are federalists so” they do not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach on almost any issue and that includes relationship recognition for gay couples.”

What they do believe is that “stable, loving, committed relationships are the cornerstone of our society and should be protected and encouraged for all couples – including gay and lesbian couples.” They also believe that “the decision about how to best do this is one that should be made at the state level and that these decisions are best made by the people directly or through their elected representatives – not by unelected judges.”

“Where civil marriage is possible, we support civil marriage.  Where civil unions are possible, we support civil unions.  Where domestic partner benefits are possible, we support domestic partner benefits.  We understand that there are people of deep faith who may have religious objections to marriage.  We respect those differences and believe that no church or religious institution should ever be forced to solemnize a marriage that is against its teachings.”

Lavender Magazine Criticizes

The LGBT magazine Lavender accuses GoProud of  “their ever-opportunistic attempts online and on cable TV news to harangue, attack, and lambast Democrats, the left, liberals, progressives, and especially those who identify as such – plus LGBT.”

It goes on to say that “it is extraordinarily inconceivable for a group that purportedly was created to in part to “improve the every day lives of gays and lesbians across the country,” to regularly hob knob with and even pay anti-gay public figures, like Ann Coulter, to headline their fundraising and/or political events, and even place her on their Advisory Board.”

Sarcastically, the magazine concludes with “welcome to the fight for equality – however late you are to the battle, however hypocritical or self-serving one’s actions may be, there’s strength in numbers.”



Boeing’s Survivor Benefits Awarded to Same-sex Spouses

Initial Denial of Benefits Rescinded

One of the largest global aircraft manufacturers in the world, Boeing, based in Chicago, announced on January 18, that it has altered its policies on providing survivor pension benefits to same-sex couples.

Boeing employs more than 82,000 workers in Washington state alone, and more than 174,000 worldwide.  Negotiations the week of January 14th with union representatives of Professional Engineering Employees in the Aerospace division and Boeing executives produced an agreement:

Recognizing Boeing’s commitment to equality without regard to sexual orientation, Boeing will extend pension survivor benefits to all spouses, as defined under either State or Federal Law whichever defines the same sex person as a spouse.

How R-74 Impacted Same-sex Benefits

Last November, Washington state voters approved R-74 or Referendum 74, the ballot initiative that affirmed the state legislative’s passage of a marriage equality bill.  Boeing’s married same-sex couples expected pension survivor benefits.  Governor Chris Gregoire last February signed the initiative, but Preserve Marriage gathered enough signatures for a referendum and the law never took effect, instead remaining on hold pending this past election.

During contract negotiations last November, Boeing executives told Ray Goforth, executive director of SPEEA’s IFPTE Local 2001 representing 23,000 Boeing engineers and technical workers (most are employed at Boeing in Washington state) that it intended to deny pension survivor benefits to its married same-sex couples. Since pensions are governed by federal law, and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) does not recognize same-sex couples, Boeing defended its position that even with passage of Washington state’s marriage equality law, the federal law would override the state statue. ( see “Boeing CanGo Fly A Kite,” Gay News from Gay Agenda, 08 Dec 2012).

Goforth and Union Pleased with Outcome

“We are satisfied that this language (in the agreement) protects same-sex spouses,” said Goforth, who on November 21st, was once again trying to get equal pension benefits for same-sex domestic partners at Boeing.  After Boeing initially denied the benefits, an online petition at urged the company to change its position, received over 79,000 signatures.


Lesbian Wife of Lt.Col. Denied Full Membership at ABOS.

Ft. Bragg Spouse Offered Guest Membership

The Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses (ABOS) offered Ashley Broadway, married to Lt. Col. Heather Mack, a ‘special guest membership’ at the Army Spouses Club.  But Broadway took offense, calling the offer “extremely demeaning.  The military treats us as ‘second-class’ citizens.(see “Gay Military Spouses Face Fight for Acceptance Amid Rules Against Them,” The New York Times, January 20, 2013).

The lesbian couple were married last November in a formal ceremony after the 2011 repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”( That policy kept gays from openly serving in the military).  Broadway and Mack have a two year-old son Carter Mack and are due to have another child soon. Lt. Col. Mack has been in the Army for seventeen years.

Broadway’s Beef

Broadway told NBC News on January 17th that “I’m either going to be a member or not.  I applied to be a full member with a vote.” The guest membership, in her opinion, treats her less than equal.  She has turned down the offer of the ABOS.

According to Broadway, her membership application was rejected because she didn’t have a military spouse identification card.  But that rule was allegedly added later after Broadway asked to join the club last month.

Stephen Peters, president of the American Military Partner Association, a Washington, D.C. –based support and resource network for lesbian and gay military families, relayed to NBC News that the screenshots of the Facebook page and ABOS website show that the sites were changed retroactively to add the requirement of an ID card after Ashley applied for membership. “There is no valid reason,” according to Peters, “why she should not be offered full membership as outlined in the organization’s by-laws.”

The Valid I.D. Card

The U.S. Military does not explicitly require a valid (Department of Defense) I.D. Card but some member benefits and events do require a valid DoD Card, according to the Club.( These cards are routinely given to heterosexual military members). On Friday, December 7, ABOS received Broadway’s letter requesting reconsideration and three days later, a similar letter to its President Mary Ring was published on the group’s website.

Since the by-laws were written and adopted well before the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the term ‘Spouse’ is not defined.  In a separate email to NBC News, the club’s board maintained that Broadway was never rejected, but told that the club would need “time to look at the issue.”

On December 9, the U.S. Marine Corps, in response to Broadway’s denial, issued a branch-wide directive that same-sex spouses be allowed to participate in spouses clubs at all Marine bases. They must admit same-sex spouses since all such private groups must comply with a nondiscriminatory policy.

What Out-Serve Seeks

OutServe-SLDN, a leading advocacy group for LGBT service members and veterans announced on January 17, 2013 that it had filed a Freedom of Information Act) request at Fort Bragg to obtain documents and correspondence relating to the Officers’ spouses club’s refusal to admit a same-sex spouse.

The FOIA wants information about communications received by or sent from Ft. Bragg’s Army installation’s commanding officer, Lt. Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, and several others regarding “the operation, continued operation, or membership or admission policies or practices of the Club.”

OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson said “gay and lesbian military families at Fort Bragg and throughout the armed services deserve to know if their chain of command is working for them or against them.  If there is a coordinated effort that would undermine the principle that every service member and his or her family should be treated impartially, our nation’s leaders at the Pentagon need to know as well.”

The Pentagon’s Decision

On Tuesday, January 15th, the Pentagon supported the decision of Fort Bragg’s Army leaders not to intervene in the case.  The legal basis for the Pentagon’s stance is Department of Defense “instruction” drafted in 2008, three years before the repeal of the DADT policy.  The directive states that “non-federal entities” operating on U.S. military installations don’t discriminate on the basis of “race, color, creed, sex, age, disability, or national origin.” It does not mention discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

Broadway Nominated for Award

Ashley has been nominated for the Ft. Bragg Military Spouse of the Year award.  She is one of ten Bragg spouses nominated for the award from that base.




Rhode Island Could Be Next State with Same-Sex Marriage

Activists Waging Legislative Battles in R.I.

This tiny New England state has a good chance of becoming the tenth state to allow same-sex marriage.  It has a Democratic majority, supportive governor, and good odds.

Momentum in Illinois, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Minnesota, and Delaware

Marc Solomon, the national campaign director for Freedom to Marry says, “we’re getting faster and faster.”  Solomon says the 2012 election, which voted in new pro-gay-rights lawmakers, highlighted the movement’s increasing political muscle.

Rhode Island Push

The push in Rhode Island is coming partly from the legislative leadership.  House speaker Gordon Fox is gay and an advocate for marriage equality. The 47th Governor and former Senator from 1999 to 2007, Governor Lincoln Chafee has long been supportive of same-sex marriage.  Fox has promised to help move a measure forward. The president of the state senate since 2008, Democrat M. Teresa Parva-Weed, has also promised to allow a committee vote if and when the house sends the bill over.

President Obama endorsed Rhode Island’s Marriage Equality Effort last week, as he done in his former home state of Illinois.  On January 15, the State Legislature focused on same-sex marriage. The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to review a proposed marriage equality bill.  The Committee is expected to hear several hours of testimony.

Those Who Are Opposed To Popular Vote

Democrat State Senator Frank Ciccone suggested introducing a bill that would put marriage equaiity up to a statewide vote.  However, Governor Chafee, the ex-Mayor of Warwick, says that legislators are elected to make such decisions. On January 10th, he said he’d veto the bill.

Not Everyone is In Favor

Providence Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin wrote an editorial saying that establishing marriage equality would be “immoral and unnecessary.”  The Bishop wants to delay the vote on marriage equality also because as he points out, the Supreme Court may make the decision for us. The Reverend Bernard Healey told lawmakers that the Providence Diocese is concerned, Catholic schools and charitable organizations could be forced to change their employee benefit policies to reflect same-sex spouses of employees.

Outcome for Rhode Island

In a predominantly Catholic state, it’s not automatic that same-sex marriage will be a “shoo-in.” Rhode Island is the missing puzzle piece in New England’s same-sex marriage solidarity so this tiny state will have enormous impact.



Who is This Guy Richard Blanco and Why Is He Getting Press?

Fifth Inaugural Poet

John F. Kennedy started the trend with renown Robert Frost, Bill Clinton picked the Harlem poet Maya Angelou, and Obama continues the trend as he has picked Richard Blanco (his first inaugural poet was Elizabeth Alexander) to write an original poem for his ceremonial swearing-in on the Capitol steps on January 21, the day after he takes the official oath at the White House.

Mr. Blanco, 44, was chosen because he is an exile from Cuba, gay, and his “America is very similar to the president’s America,” according to Liz Balmaseda, a writer. Blanco, the son of Cuban exiles, said his kinship with the President springs from his own feeling of straddling different worlds; he is Latino and gay.  He also was picked, according to Addie Whisenant the inaugural committee’s spokeswoman, because the poet’s “deeply personal poems are rooted in the idea of what it means to be an American.”

After learning of his honor on December 12th, Blanco went about drafting three poems. The Obama team will pick one “occasional poem” to be read at the inaugural ceremony. “The challenge, says Blanco, is “how to be me in the poem, to have a voice that’s still intimate but yet can encompass a multitude of what America is.” In announcing Bianco as his choice, Obama said the poet will celebrate “the strength of the American people and our nation’s great diversity” and tie in with President Obama’s inaugural theme “Our People, Our Future.”

No “hack,” He

In 1997, Blanco won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, for his first collection, “City of Hundred Fires,” which was an outgrowth of his graduate thesis at  Florida International University. City was published the next year by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

His second book, Directions to the Beach of the Dead (University of Arizona Press, 2005) has a similar theme: exploration of his Cuban heritage.  He was the 2005 winner of the 2006 PEN/American Center Beyond Margins Award.

Mr. Blanco’s most recent collection “Looking for the Gulf Motel,” published last year, incorporates, like his memoir, his life as a gay man in the very conservative Cuban culture. Said the author, “it’s trying to understand how I fit between negotiating the world, between being mainstream gay and being Cuban gay.”

He has taught writing at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, and Georgetown University and American University in Washington and contributed to many literary journals. He has done poetry readings for such places as the Maine Museum of Art in Bangor whose Director, George Kinghorn, knew Richard when he lived in Florida.

Engineering Background

Richard who grew up in Miami has lived in Bethel, Maine since 2008. He is on the Town Board in Bethel as he is a registered professional engineer and holds a BS in Civil Engineering, 1991. .  He is now writing full-time, but at one time had a day job as an engineer.

Blanco, a self-described “whiz at math,” helped design bridges, road improvements and an architectural site plan for City Hall in South Miami. His degree, like his master’s degree in fine arts and creative writing, comes from Florida International University.

Richard Blanco Makes History

Blanco is the first immigrant, the first Latino, and the first gay man to be named as the Inaugural Poet, one of the most honored positions for a poet.





Furniture Mogul Behind Effort to Open LGBT Museum in Washington, D.C.


Gay Couple Mitchell and Tim Gold Are Collecting Artifacts and Donations for Museum

North Carolina furniture magnate Mitchell Gold and his husband Tim Gold are raising money and collecting artifacts to open a LGBT museum in our nation’s capital. The museum is expected to cost $50 to $100 million to open and operate.

The Museum’s Purpose

“We are going to tell American stories.  We are going to tell American history, but we are going to do it through the lens of the LGBT story. The museum is particularly for the LGBT youth.  That high school boy or girl who comes from a community that’s not so accepting, maybe a family that’s not so accepting, from a church that’s not so accepting, and at the very least they should be able to walk by this museum and know that it’s o.k. I want anyone walking through the door to be able to take something away from the experience, ” commented Tim.

Museum Goers Won’t be Walking Through the Door Anytime Soon.

Contributors kicked off the building campaign with $300,000. Supporters include the Arcus Foundation that promotes LGBT equality, the Velvet Foundation, a charitable group, which since 2008, has been gathering donations, and individual donors.

Tim Gold is a former Smithsonian researcher, and his husband Mitchell co-founded the $100 million home furnishing company Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Mitchell does philanthropic work on behalf of gay youth and edited a book of coming-out stories. They are spearheading the effort.

The Planning Board

The couple live in North Carolina, a state that banned same-sex marriage last year, but legally  married in Iowa.  They have enlisted the help of a lawyer to arrange their fundraising, a museum design expert, Richard Molinaroli of MFM Design, a Bethesda firm that creates exhibits for Smithsonian museums, to develop the ideas and a real estate broker to locate and acquire property needed for a 100,000 –square-foot museum.  Tim envisions an exhibition hall as part of a mixed-use space that would include a performing arts theatre, a cafe, offices, and a research center.

“Here I Am”

The museum’s forty-page strategic plan, titled “Here I am” explores stories of gay men and lesbians and their searches for identity. It would teach visitors the roles that LGBT Americans have played in the country’s history such as:  gay men and lesbians and their searches for identity, among them lesbian performers at Harlem blues clubs in the 1920’s, photographs of gays at the Stonewall Inn in 1969 and nationwide protest signs from nationwide demonstrations. There is a sign saved from the closing in 2010 of the Dupont Circle bookstore Lambda Rising and the violin and music stand owned by Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers Freshman who committed suicide. The Museum of Sex in Manhattan has contributed a filmstrip of a 1970 Gay Pride  parade in New York.

So far, Tim Gold has acquired 5,000 items which are stored in a climate-controlled warehouse in Forestville.  He has been travelling the U.S. visiting the homes of gay rights activists, such as Matthew Shepard’s mother, where he is given historical mementos from their attics.


Empathy Symbol

There are many times where we have a tendency to look upon another person’s trials and tribulations in a sympathetic manner.  We acknowledge the emotional hardships of another and provide support and comfort.  In many instances, being sympathetic is perceived to be the only viable response since we have no real understanding of what someone else may be going through, never having experienced a particular situation ourselves.

A more effective manner by which to truly understand what a person is experiencing is to have empathy for that person and what they are going through.  We are able to assist someone with an issue or problem they are facing more substantively if we can understand what a person is feeling because we have experienced the same situation and/or have the ability to put ourselves in their shoes.  Being empathetic takes more effort and requires us to step outside of our personal paradigms and look at a situation through someone else’s eyes while basing our response to their issue on our own experiences.

Common situations we have all experienced such as death of a loved one, loss of a beloved pet, or some other common occurrence easily provides an opportunity to comfort someone else in an empathetic way.  More difficult situations such as losing a child prematurely or cancer may be much more difficult situations by which to comfort someone in an empathetic fashion since the same personal experience may not exist.  However, if we take that extra step and put ourselves in those situations and imagine how we would feel if we were experiencing a very difficult situation still accords an opportunity for us to comfort empathetically in addition to sympathetically.  In these instances, it is clearly an individual choice to take that extra step and to try to more fully comprehend a particular situation.

As a queer individual, it is very easy for me to help someone in the closet deal with their issues of coming out since I have obviously personally agonized over the same feelings of doubt, fear and degraded self-esteem.  It is quite easy to put myself in someone else’s shoes and give advice and comfort from a personal perspective.

There are those instances where I have felt somewhat inadequate to assist and have referred people to others who have more experience with a particular issue, such as giving empathetic support to a married man or woman who is queer in a straight relationship where they have begun to deal with the issues of coming out and leaving the relationship.  Having never been in that situation, it is clearly a difficult thing for me to help someone fully understand the issues and consequences of extricating themselves from a situation such as this.  I can only offer support and encouragement to them to make the decision that they are most comfortable with and ask their permission to have a person who has gone through such a dramatic experience contact them.

It saddens me when those in the queer community choose to not empathetically help someone else or look upon others in their own community with disdain, contempt and prejudice for whatever reason.  It would seem logical that those in the queer community would be more accepting of others, be less judgmental and willing to assist when needed in very emotionally challenged situations.  Unfortunately this is not the case.

When one looks at this further, this phenomenon is something that goes beyond the gay/straight realm… it is a function of human nature. As we have to deal with prejudice from without we must also from within the queer community.  It is just as challenging for many within our community to empathetically help others due to prejudices and stereotypes that are prevalent in society in a much broader sense.

I personally believe that minority groups and others that have been persecuted have an inherent responsibility to act in a more exemplary fashion and have a higher degree of empathy for others because of their minority and/or persecuted status.  To believe otherwise is a cop out and does not bode well for society and moving humanity forward to a higher awareness of those around us and of differences in people.

I end with a challenge; will you decide to be more empathetic and take the initiative to better understand your fellow human beings by walking in their shoes or will you continue to simply express sympathy and not really delve into the dynamics of another person’s situation to help them better understand what is happening to them.  Being the eternal optimist I am, I will continue to hope for the former.