I wrote this on the morning of the vote on whether or not to write discrimination into our state constitution.
To my daughter:
Today the people of North Carolina are voting on whether or not to amend our state constitution. And it seems like the people are going to vote for it to pass. Usually when a constitution is amended it is to give more rights to people, but today it is being used as a weapon to further take rights away from people we love. And that makes me sad. There is a good chance you are going to see me cry today. And probably tomorrow, too. By the time you read this you won’t remember that, which is why I want to take a minute and write to you today.
I really hope that by the time you read this there is no more Amendment One. I hope that it is a short footnote in your history books. One that is talked about with the same shame that haunts other stories of people being denied civil rights.
I can’t explain to you why people act the way they do. I have no idea why people would vote to harm others. I wish I had these answers for you. I can help you not be one of those people.
Learn from the mistakes of others. Amendment One is a mistake, so let’s learn from it.
There are many different types of people in the world. I’m sure you’ve figured this out by now. Unfortunately, to some people that is frightening. Don’t let it scare you. Embrace it. This does not mean you have to get along with everyone, but please don’t let differences of ethnicity, sexual orientation, or handicap ever be a reason.
Advocate. When you see someone being treated poorly for a reason you feel is unjust it is sometimes tempting to sit back and not say anything, because it isn’t about you. But when people are being picked on, especially for things they cannot help, it affects us all.
Empathy. Think about how you would feel if you were in their shoes. How about if your friends were in their shoes. Speak up. Say something. Make sure bullies know that they are the ones with the problem. Sometimes adults are bullies too, they just get different names.
Love is important. Be supportive, be loyal, and be there for the ones you love. Especially when the world is weighing heavily on their shoulders. Share the load. When you have the choice between love and hate, it’s usually a good bet to choose love.
But sometimes you can’t love everyone. Sometimes you have to be harsh towards people who hurt your friends and family. And that is okay, too. You can love without being a doormat for the people who would hurt you.
Remember that it is never okay to choose to hurt others in the name of religion.
Don’t let hate win by compromising your own beliefs. Some people have said that if we don’t like Amendment One that we should just move. North Carolina is our home. I love this state and cannot let it fall victim to the hatred that seems to be lurking in the shadows. This state is beautiful, and I am not about to let the problems of other people make me run. If we all leave then hate wins.
Your generation is our hope. That is cheesy. But it’s true. Younger voters are by and large far more likely to be against this amendment than older voters. Your peers will probably have the chance to make many positive changes in the world. Please let inclusion and love be among the ones that make you most proud. It will make me proud to be the generation that raised you.