Bayard Rustin is someone who inspires me whenever I think of him. One of the lesser known civil rights activists during the 60s, he helped greatly to organize the famous march on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I had a dream" speech. Bayard had begun working with A Philip Randolph, and AJ Muste early on. Randolph went to Roosevelt to tell him that blacks would march on the capital unless racial segregation in the armed forces would end. They cancelled the march, as Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802 (the Fair Employment Act), which banned discrimination in defense industries and federal agencies.
Bayard believed deeply in pacifism and supported Ghandi-like protest. While in jail, for avoiding the draft, Bayard held a protest against segregation in prisons. In 1951, he formed the Committee to Support South African Resistance, which later became the American Committee on Africa. In 1953, Rustin was arrested in Pasadena, California for homosexual activity. Originally charged with vagrancy and lewd conduct, he pleaded guilty to a single, lesser charge of "sex perversion" (as consensual sodomy was officially referred to in California then) and served 60 days in jail. This was the first time that his homosexuality had come to public attention. He had been and remained candid about his sexuality, although homosexuality was still criminalized throughout the United States.
Despite King's support, NAACP chairman Roy Wilkins did not want Rustin to receive any public credit for his role in planning the march. Nevertheless, he did become well known. On September 6, 1963 Rustin and Randolph appeared on the cover of Life magazine as "the leaders" of the March. After the March on Washington, Rustin organized the New York City School Boycott. When Rustin was invited to speak at the University of Virginia in 1964, school administrators tried to ban him, out of fear that he would organize another school boycott there.
In 1986 he said:
Today, blacks are no longer the litmus paper or the barometer of social change. Blacks are in every segment of society and there are laws that help to protect them from racial discrimination. The new "niggers" are gays. . . . It is in this sense that gay people are the new barometer for social change. . . . The question of social change should be framed with the most vulnerable group in mind: gay people
He was, and is to this day, usually overshadowed by other leaders like Martin Luther King and even Malcom X but he was an integral part of the movement. He passed away August 24, 1987, of a perforated appendix.
But now on to a little about me.
I have to say I feel like I've been living on the bad side of the moon for most of my life. But here's the situation: new school year, new home. I think it's time I get a new life. I need my identity to live. It's been kept down in the dungeons and living like a slave at the whims of the local demagogues and vain individuals. It's time to tear down this imaginary wall. I've had philosophy, good reasoning and logic, clutched in my grasp as defense, always weary on the watch for hatred and insults slung my way behind my back or to my face. But now it's time for action.
There ain’t no need for watchdogs here, to justify our ways
We lived our lives in manacles, the main cause of our stay
And exiled here from other worlds, my sentence comes to soon
Why should I be made to pay on the bad side of the moon
I’m a light world away, from the people who make me stay
Sittin’ on the bad side of the moon
Take a listen to your heart. I've been listening to the world tell me I'm everything that's wrong my whole life. Well now it's time to break away and be free. Through the loudmouths trying to tell me what to do I've also heard the softer, calmer voices of reason and care. The first fundamental idea I forgot all these years was that this is my life. It's so basic, and yet so revolutionary when applied to someone so repressed and dominated by their surroundings. I know that these problems are not solely the creation of the oppressor as the oppressed can maintain their own prisons, by fear and via conformity. It can be a sort of Stockholm syndrome in the personal/societal sense. Keep it to yourself, it's my life. Do they really know what they purport so vainly to know, when they harass you and condemn you so? You know yourself much better than they do. Don't let your heart grow cold.
Scatman can always cheer me up. Something about cheery, simple 90s techno beats. They say he's the godfather of techno.
Take a chance. Live outside the box. Live your life "as if" these manacles weren't around you.
"Try and live your life as if you were a free person, that you didn't have to wonder what anyone else's opinion was, that you should take the risk of believing that if you are the only person who thinks what you think then that still might well mean that you are right. The loneliness often makes people wonder, out of modesty, if they're crazy or maybe they know something I don't."
I walk around every day wondering: do they know I'm gay? Is that why they give me looks and avoid me and seem to overlook my attempts at friendship? Does my voice give it away? I used to put in effort purposely to not talk or express feelings whenever I talked (What Hitch says about people on talk shows/T.V., just trying to agree with the consensus and not trying to sound nervous, who don't want to speak in their own voice, that's definitely a mentality I must avoid). You may go through your life wondering what could have been, or worse, that your choices were based on someone else's will. You've got to be free. How else would you live your own life?
Take a look outside. You can see green trees, shrubs, bushes. The sun breaks through the clouds to leave its dewy rays on the trees. Birds are taking a bath while squirrels scurry about. Behind that you see a dense city bustling with life and energy everywhere. There's beauty still in the world, be it a morning yoga class in the park, or the discussions of philosophy in a university or watching the hockey game on Saturday night. Life is great with all its complexity and simplicity and shortcomings. This cheesy music video always reminds me of that (also a movie with a similar name is a good choice too+ Show Spoiler +
The loudest voices in the world usually corrupt it, and make the world ugly in the aesthetic and philosophical sense. They turn the natural into unnatural, the real into fake, and the beautiful into ugly.
So this is sort of a little note to myself and others, not as inspiring or lucid as http://www.teamliquid.net/blogs/viewblog.php?id=262658 but keep it in mind when the times are dark. Don't forget that there's some sort of ray of hope hidden in the mire. The future may appear bleak, but people in your position have seen it through and come out stronger. They've gone down in history for their defiance and bravery. You still have yourself, and that's worth a whole lot more than you might think. I might go downhill pretty soon and pretty fast, so I'll need this reminder. The summer is over, and the winters in Canada are as long as they are cold. Soon the leaves will begin to fade, soon the night will reclaim its time in our eyes.
I've been debating if I should even be in school. (my mind always feels very dry when I think of the subject). Perhaps I should just go where my heart takes me, and fight for a difference.
Don't give up.