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THANKFUL FRIDAY

Cindy Maddera

We love. It is inherent to our nature, to love, to desire, to want to be desired. Love comes in many different forms. The love a mother has for her child is different than the love she has for her partner who helped create that child. Love is big. Love is small. We all love. The old saying of “you can’t always choose the one you love” holds some truth. If love was a choice, I’m not so sure it is something I would choose some times. Love has consequences. Love can be illegal. Interracial marriages were illegal for years. It wasn’t until 1967 that Supreme Court ruled that banning interracial marriages violated the 14th Amendment. Same Sex marriages took much longer to be recognized, but there are now 26 countries recognize same sex marriages.

There are at least 14 countries where homosexuality is punishable by death.

You could be put to death for love.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Our government kept lists of known homosexuals and favorite meeting places. Cities would routinely do raids to rid neighborhoods of gay people. In the early morning hours of June 28th, New York City police raided The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. The usual protocol for these raids was to line everybody up and check IDs. People dressed as women were to accompany a female police officer to the bathroom where they would have to ‘verify’ their sex. That night, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn refused. No one produced IDs and no one was accompanying a female officer to the bathroom. The Police just decided to haul everyone in to jail. Crowds started forming outside while patty wagons pulled up out front and police started loading patrons into the wagons. One woman who was struggling and yelling and complaining about her cuffs being too tight was hit in the head with a baton. She looked at the crowd and yelled “Why don’t you do something?” That’s when the crowd became a mob and things got violent. Crowds surged forward to help those being arrested. Things like bottles and rocks were thrown. The riots and demonstrations against the raid would last for six days. The Stonewall Riots are considered by many to be the event that would expand the LGBT civil rights movement. Two years later, New York City would host the very first Gay Pride Parade. The Stonewall Inn was declared a National Monument in 2016. I have a stamp for it in my National Parks Passport.

It is hard to imagine the Stonewall Inn riots happening today. It’s hard to imagine a lot of things happening today, yet here we are. Still hating and discriminating. Some times I get really bogged down by this. How is it if we teach God is love and love is an inherent human nature, can we still be so hateful to one another? Then I am reminded that those who hate, hate because they were taught to hate. They hate because they were not shown or taught to love. They hate because they are jealous of the freedom to be the person they are and love the person they love. They are jealous of that acceptance, of the comfort that comes with being true to one’s self. I don’t say this to excuse them. But if you know the why, you just might be able to find a way to change it.

Love trumps hate.

I am thankful for those who came before me who have fought so fiercely for love.