And so it begins

It could hardly have been more ironic. When news broke on Inauguration Day that all mention of LGBTQ issues had vanished from the White House website, I stood in the middle of 3,000 LGBTQ activists at the annual Creating Change conference. Everyone knew it was “just” a website. But no one missed the implications.

It’s quickly gotten worse. The soon-to-be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations repeatedly sidestepped questions about LGBTQ rights. The declaration about building “the wall,” which history will number among America’s great shames. The expected ban on Syrian refugees coming to our shores. Syrians make up the largest refugee population in the world – and the land of liberty is slamming its door on them. I think immediately of Subi, the gay Syrian refugee whom Horizons had the privilege of honoring at our gala a little over a year ago, his story of persecution and courage. How many others will now be left behind? (Watch his moving acceptance remarks starting at the 7:00-minute mark here)

Moments of hope

The first 48 hours after the inauguration brought, amid the palpable anxiety, a few welcome moments of hope. After all, that first day I was surrounded by a spectacular array of activists bent on resistance. At the conference, we heard a riveting call to solidarity and action from the Reverend William Barber, a potent national voice against injustice. (Watch Rev. Barber’s dramatic DNC speech here.)

And I came home on Saturday to blustery downpours – and a magnificent Women’s March in San Francisco. It was a glorious sea of defiant humanity, thousands of smiles and thousands of signs, held high against the cold wind. A nearly perfect antidote – even if just momentary – to anxiety and fear.

Now what? Two steps you can take right now

This is going to be hard. We all know that conferences, speeches, and marches aren’t enough.

Just two ideas of what you can do:

  • Make a donation to a front-line organization you’ve never given to before – women’s rights, immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, civil liberties . . . the choices are nearly endless. And Horizons is always there to help you find something that captures your passion.
  • Join in the Women’s March’s effort to mobilize 10 mass actions in the next 100 days.

These are just two of the many ways that people are standing up in these early and alarming days. You can share what you’re doing on our Facebook page. Let’s inspire each other – we’re going to need it.