Note:This may be the most important blog I have ever written. Please, please read this and share. I feel so strongly about this issue, and now that it has happened to someone I know, I am even more disgusted. My emotions definitely show in this post.
I'd like to introduce to you my friend Justin. Justin was one of my good friends in high school, and we have kept in some contact throughout college and after. Not as much as I would like, but I think of him often and check up on him on facebook. He is one of the sweetest, strongest guys I have ever known, always looking to make people feel welcome and enjoy themselves. On March 7th, Justin was the victim of a hate crime. I will let you listen to his story, and then share my thoughts.
Some of you may have seen it on facebook/twitter last night. I will warn you that it contains harsh language- use of the "f bomb" and gay slang terms. But, I encourage you to get past that and watch it anyways. This is a story that needs to be shared.
My initial reaction to seeing this and reading Justin's facebook status? Disgust. Heartbreak. I'm saddened enough by the amount of hate and bullying in this world, but to see it happen to one of my friends, in my city, is terrifying and disturbing. The hate needs to stop. How DARE one of us judge another person so harshly that we want them dead? This is not the way to live our lives. What good does hate do? Nothing. Hating someone does not make you better than them, it does not change any circumstances. Acting on it only makes you look worse, not strong. The fact that the witnesses just stood there and did nothing is equally disturbing. This was someones life at risk. It could have been any of us.
We need to stand against this. It is our duty as humans to look out for one another. We need to teach our children to love and accept others no matter the difference. What happened to Justin is not okay. It shouldn't happen, period. Not to anyone. How can we teach kids to love themselves, to accept who they are, when we have animals like the guy who attacked Justin running around threatening lives?
Please, stop the hate. I believe each of us can do something to put an end to this. Let us smile more, love more, be more grateful, open and forgiving. Be good examples.
I'm sorry that I cannot adequately put into words how I feel. I was so affected by Justin's story...no words can express how disgusted and disturbed I am that things like this are happening, and how passionate I am about putting it to an end. I hope that you will join me. I am going to try and do my part by eliminating the word hate from my vocabulary. It slips out, but the less I say it, the less I will feel it.
To Justin, thank you for sharing your story. I know it took strength and courage, two of the things I have always admired most about you. I hope that this will catch attention and give people a wake up call, force them to get up and do something about this. I love you, big bird :)
Love. That's all I can say. Just love.