DeBorah Gilbert White
CHOICES and HOPES
The last few days, weeks, and months have been difficult for those who hold on to the hope that things can and will get better for the too many who experience life differently because of who they are. I mean, those who are identified as poor, homeless, and vulnerable. Those who are deemed powerless, voiceless, weak, and without the support of the human rights and dignity that so many of us take for granted. Simply because of how you are perceived, decisions are made that can harm, diminish, marginalize and kill you, and what matters to you.
A few weeks ago, we witness this in the actions of some Delaware legislators deciding directly or indirectly to not vote the Bill of Rights for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness out of the House Judiciary Committee. We continue to ponder what is so frightening or threatening about a piece of legislation that supports some of the most vulnerable people in Delaware when they encounter discrimination as they seek housing, employment, and services while identified as homeless or unhoused. We remain thankful and appreciative of the many individuals, groups, and organizations that made the choice to speak in support of those who face discrimination due to their housing status. We remain hopeful that the next legislative session will find more people, particularly those with the lived experience of homelessness, and those who know the risk of becoming homeless emboldened to join the effort. Exercising the right to vote for legislators who have made the choice for housing and homeless issues to be at the forefront is a good start. We cannot legislate hearts and minds, but we can put in place mechanisms that reduce harm and increase accountability.
Shortly after, we witnessed it as a nation in the form of two mass shootings; Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, and as an attack on a church in Laguna Woods, California. Our hearts ache from the realization that in each situation, one person made a choice on a given day, that ten human beings identified as Black/African American did not deserve to live any longer, that nineteen children would stop giggling, laughing, playing, and two adults (their teachers), would never teach or be with their families ever again. One person was killed at that church in California whose congregation is identified as predominately Taiwanese. There is an overwhelming sorrow, weariness, and anger many of us have in understanding that the devastation in Buffalo, Texas, California, and every other place where communities have experienced gun violence can end in the United States if we chose to do so. We cannot legislate hearts and minds, but we can vote into office those who hold the political will to have in place policies and procedures for not having our racial group identity or any other aspect of our human diversity make us a target, or have little children in a classroom at school be the collateral damage of policies and laws that favor gun lobbyists.
Yes, it has been a most difficult last few days, weeks, and months. For many, it has been a protracted struggle to continue to work for the societal changes so sorely needed. It is a choice. Fellow humans, We Must Do Better. That too is a choice and a hope.