I know how you feel today. I have felt it too. Anger, despair, disappointment, sadness, grief, shock…. We’ve been wrung through the gamut of emotions these past many months—and even years—and yesterday was no exception. I think we all started off the day with a sense of elation and hope, and ended it on the other end of the spectrum.
There is of course no way for us to know how the court will rule, even based on what we saw in oral argument yesterday. But our general sense is that they will likely rule to uphold Prop 8.
It’s hard to fathom; even harder to accept. It was hard to come home to my kids last night and not feel like somehow, all of us had failed them profoundly. They know their moms and our family is as deserving of equal protections as any other—how do I explain to them that the world at large isn’t there yet?
But at the dinner table last night, Sandy and I talked to our kids about what happened in the courtroom yesterday. I said, “But you know what gives me hope?” Right away, my 12-year-old son Julian said, “The next generation,” and my seven-year-old daughter Ariana chimed in at the same time, “Your family.” That was the most powerful moment of my day.
My kids understand, sometimes even better than I do, what’s real in life and what really matters. We have to reflect that hope back to them, and the belief in what is ultimately possible.
The truth is that I—and the rest of us here at NCLR, including our own brilliant Shannon Minter—are not devastated. We’re not defeated. We are disappointed, to be sure—make no mistake about that. But we are nowhere near being destroyed. We are taking a few days to lick our wounds and dust ourselves off; we got knocked down yesterday.
I know some of you are asking how on earth we can even pick ourselves up and continue this fight. A supporter emailed me this morning, saying, “It’s like a knife in my heart. I want to throw up. I’m not a good fighter. I just want to crawl in a dark hole…. But it’s hard to stay afloat in all of this. I don’t know how you fighters do it.”
I know this place; I have been there. And I am grateful to not be there today. But this is what I say to this supporter and to anyone reading this and needing to hear this—this is how we climb out of that hole and renew our commitment: it is the coming together and knowing we are out here for each other that is the rope ladder out of that hole. When I am feeling down, I have people around me who tell me it’s not the end, even if it feels like it. They help me out of the dark place. This is what a community does for each other.
Today, I am here to tell you: it is not the end, even if it feels like it. All of us at NCLR are here to help remind you that you will make it out of the dark place. Yes, we have a lot of work ahead of us, a lot to do. It’s clear we haven’t done enough. That is disheartening. But it is also important to remind ourselves how far we have come—California is still a state where we enjoy unique protections, even without marriage. And we’re now part of an unprecedented national dialogue, which is a key and critical ingredient to moving a social justice movement forward.
And so as we gear up, what’s also important to remember is that we have this work to do because we’re still in this fight. It is nowhere near over. Five years from now, we will all look back and see yesterday and this period as history.
We are going to win—the struggle towards justice goes in only one direction.
Keep your heads up and your hearts open. Look out for each other. Give yourself a break. Take a deep breath and I’ll talk to you soon.
(Cross-posted at Out for Justice.)