I know you can’t see the speaker very well in this photo. I deliberately chose this photo to give you a sense of the size of the room and the fact that the speaker is addressing hundreds of people. She’s in front of the large (articifical?) tree by the window. She is speaking clearly and calmly. She is stating her frustration about the ongoing discrimination in our society against LBGTQ persons. And she is explaining how it is the witness and moral reasoning of Martin Luther King Jr that inspires her and encourages her to speak out.
And she is a middle school student. Wow. When I was in middle school (junior high school, in my case), I also gave speeches. The VFW and Voice of America sponsored annual “oratory” contests, and I participated every year. My speeches were sooooo tame. I had so little awareness of the depth and complexity of our society’s injustices, and I knew next to nothing about the Civil Right Movement, unfortunately. And if I had had an opinion, I doubt I would have had the courage to stand up in front of the good people of my hometown and tell them what for.
Decades later, while I am bolder and committed to speaking up and standing up for a better world, I still need role models for speaking truth to power. Don’t we all? I am thankful for this wonderful young woman (who is a minor, so I won’t ID her in my blog) for speaking so articulately to her community at Watertown’s Unity Breakfast.