Today I had the privilege to attend the Minneapolis National Coming Out Lunch held to celebrate the diverse workforces as well as the diverse people that work tirelessly for all human rights.
The lunch was wonderful and the speakers amazing.
The first speaker was the kid who fought for a legal end to bullying in schools. He is from Ashland, WI and was bullied relentlessly. He fought back - not with fists but with courage. Courage to raise he voice and actions. Because of his actions there is now a law that schools must keep ALL kids safe in school.
Now I am not one for Government telling us what to do nor do I think we should have to have laws in place for common sense values, but until Americans can be civil to all other Americans I guess we need too. This kid, now in his late 20's early 30's fought for his right to go to school and be safe. I kept thinking as he spoke why do we need to fight for the right to be safe?
The second speaker talked about the aging population within the GLBT community and how retirement homes are not educated in the needs of many of the people they will be serving in the near future. She talked about Sharon Reed who was a woman in Florida who was denied access to her dying partner in a Florida Hospital. Her rights were denied even with official paperwork stating she was the legal decision maker.
The third speaker was a deaf woman who has fought through family abuse and now has become an advocate for the deaf. An advocate against domestic and sexual violence.
As each speaker spoke about their story the theme became very clear: Live your Authentic You!
The final speaker was Cuc Vu, the Chief Diversity Officer for the Human Rights Campaign out of Washington, DC. If you have never heard her story she is a refugee from Vietnam who escaped with 4 brothers and sisters and Mother in the 1970's. They were separated from their father and 2 other children during the fall of Saigon. This was a touching story, an amazing story. It shaped her life and her drive. She lives now helping others who's access is denied, who's dignity is denied, who's rights are denied.
She talked about how we all need to be filled with courage rather than fear. How courage makes you stronger. How fears is a powerless emotion. I googled her when I got back from the lunch and found this clip of her. She was one of the Thousand Voices campaign around quality leadership. Click here to view this short video.
Today was an amazing day. I am not into having politics in our personal lives, seems like a waste of money, time and energy, but until we start standing up for the rights of our neighbors, brothers, sisters, and friends we will continue to need to fight for equality, we will continue to fight for our authentic you. Here is to what we all deserve and should have - equality and dignity to be our own authentic you!