Viewpoint: Make Affirmations your Valentine

By |2018-01-16T06:06:27-05:00February 5th, 2009|Guides|

by Nancy Katz

I’m not a sentimental person, so I’ve never been a fan of what I call “Hallmark” holidays like Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is also close to my partner’s and my anniversary, which we often let pass by without any celebration. However, one thing about anniversaries or Valentine’s Day is that they provide a chance to step back and reflect upon the reasons why your Valentine is important to you.
In our day to day life, we tend to take the wonderful things in our life for granted, things like your partner’s face on her pillow while she is sleeping, the way she takes care of you when you’re sad, the way being in her arms makes you feel special. Those are the things that are really important in life.
It is also easy to take other things for granted as well, like the people and the groups that make our community strong. I was particularly struck by this feeling a few weeks ago when a group of LGBT journalists who were visiting Detroit for the auto show came to Affirmations for a tour. The journalists came from all over the country – New York, Los Angeles, Dallas – and yet, each one was awestruck by Affirmations. I am not exaggerating. Each of the journalists was amazed by the building – its light, its wonderful spaces, its welcoming feeling, and by the services Affirmations provides for youth and the community. Even though other cities have larger centers, these journalists felt that we in metro Detroit have something special, something to be proud of.
It’s easy for all of us to forget how lucky we are to have a community center like Affirmations. It’s easy to take for granted that we have our own space for an art gallery, for concerts and comedy shows. We have a space where we can watch the election returns or the inauguration of President Barack Obama, or the premiere of “Prayers for Bobby,” filmed right here in our community. We take for granted that there are programs for young people, a space where they can find support as they find themselves.
The community center is one thing we should not take for granted. In fact, we should be proud that our community, as stressed by the current economic crisis as any, was able to build a model community center in a state-of-the-art building. We were able to do it because our community is proud and resilient, and willing to put its dollars to work to make the community stronger.
In these stressful times, Affirmations’ services are even more important. Even after cutting hours and staff to save money, use of the center continues to increase. We now see members of our community using Affirmations’ cyber center to search for job opportunities. We see people with financial distress, who can’t afford to keep their houses and who have lost their jobs. Some people who have been longtime supporters of Affirmations can no longer donate, and yet, the needs of the community have never been greater.
In fact, not everyone takes the center for granted. I recently heard about a homeless woman who had been coming into the center. She noticed the signs posted about Affirmations’ year-end campaign, signs saying that Affirmations needed to raise money to remain open and continue to provide services. She went to a staff member and gave them a pile of quarters, dimes and nickels amounting to $1.30. “I was going to use this for dinner,” she said, “but Affirmations is more important to me. I don’t know what I would do if this center wasn’t here for me.”
So when you think about Valentine’s Day this year, remember why you love and care about your community, and make Affirmations your Valentine. Even if your card is smaller, all Valentines will help. Volunteer or make a donation and keep our community strong and healthy. Together, we can make it through these difficult times and emerge as an even more vibrant and loving community.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.