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Paradigm Shift Wanted
by Max Smith
2006-07-01

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'Think globally, act locally,' is a bumper sticker you see from time to time. This slogan encourages environmental awareness. It should be used for generating a sense of concern for sisters and brothers who live in other countries as well.

Work-saving appliances, conveniently packaged food and multi-channel entertainment media do not encourage the average person to give much thought to these luxuries we take for granted. As a result, it is easy, and even normal for people in American society to be passive, complacent consumers. After all, who are you bothering to spend an evening in air-conditioned comfort, watching cable or satellite TV after a full meal? Being productive can mean doing just enough to live from paycheck to paycheck.

News reports in recent years of the murders of same-gender-loving ( SGL ) activists in Jamaica, Sierra Leone and Iran as well as the imprisonment of numerous others after police raids on SGL social clubs in Ghana, Nigeria and Zimbabwe did not generate significant response in the USA.

Maybe we did not know how to respond. Maybe we fear the loss of our relatively comfortable lives if we were visible and vocal. Maybe we do not really value the lives of people we do not know personally. Whatever the case, there is a combination of factors that makes it rare for people in LGBT communities of color in America to participate on more than a purely social level.

Each year, over 20 Black Pride events are held in cities from New York to Los Angeles. By the way, who took the Gay out of Black Gay Pride? Every year I hear of well-planned and free workshops, serious discussion groups, worship services and book signings. A new way to demonstrate Black SGL pride is to take things seriously and act upon ideas that involve improvements in the quality of life of our local and global communities. Maybe the LGBT folk who come of age in 2016 or in 2026 will think and act differently.

Society does not change by itself. Specific individuals have to think outside the box and decide to do what it takes to create change. Then, hopefully, as more and more people think and act differently, we will reach a tipping point and the new way of thinking and acting becomes an ordinary or even expected way of life. Life itself depends on a change in that particularly troubling statistic: 46 percent of urban Black SGL men are reportedly HIV-positive.

However, there is a way of looking at the glass as being half-full. The U.S. Supreme Court did abolish sodomy laws in June 2003. Dozens of cities and counties and 14 states, including Illinois and Wisconsin, now have laws on the books that prohibit discrimination on grounds including race, sex and sexual orientation. All those people who show up at Black Prides to dance and party do show up, at least! Now who has the creative genius to balance enthusiasm for entertainment with something substantive, enriching, educational and appealing?

This country has spent about $100 billion of your tax dollars to wage war in Iraq. The U.S. has the money and the power to exert influence and change lives around the globe. So why does 'One nation under God' beat plowshares into swords? Imagine the National Black Justice Coalition having more influence in Congress than the NRA ( National Rifle Association ) has.

Imagine each city with a Black Pride celebration selecting one country each where LGBT folks are imprisoned, tortured and executed just for being same gender loving. Using the internet, the power of our free press and the motivation of our love to connect with sgl and two-spirited people there.

How do we make imagination reality? What out of the box thoughts and ideas do you have?

Comments? Concerns? E-mail MaxsonnCS@aol.com .


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