Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
There will be plenty of both cheers and caution at this week’s announcement that the Triangle Foundation and Michigan Equality have merged. Cheers for obvious reasons: We’re all ecstatic that this day has finally come.
But we’re cautiously optimistic about lofty goals, tenuous statements and ubiquious use of the word “hope,” especially without a hard, strategic workplan available for review.
Here at Between The Lines, we are the first to say, “It’s about damn time!” when it comes to this huge announcement for our state’s fight for LGBT equality. However, there are still many questions that remain unanswered as we report on the merger – some of which can’t be answered just yet.
Right now, we celebrate the joining of the two organizations, because we’re hopeful that this really is the beginning of a wonderful and equal rights-filled era for Michigan LGBTs. All talk centers around goals, hopes and dreams: full equality, community involvement, volunteer engagement, working together.
But aren’t these the same things we’ve always wanted and said we were working for, even when we had two organizations?
A merger can be great for making two paths toward the same goals into one road – if it really signifies a change in thinking and a new approach to how we work together. A change in the tide for equality in Michigan doesn’t go hand-in-hand with this merger, and to think that this is the answer to all of our problems would be naive. It also requires that every one of us reading this helps to make this new organization successful with our time, money and passion.
This merger is a long, long awaited moment – especially for those seasoned activists who have been living and breathing this fight for several decades. It gives us hope and it energizes us to renew our commitment to the causes we care about. It’s a symbol of what we all want for our community – unity, peace and constructive discussions. It’s a sign of the things all activists hope and ask for, but it’s not the thing itself.
The big question on every Michigan LGBT advocate’s mind right now is “What does this mean for me and for the issues I care about?” But no one can answer that yet, because it hasn’t happened. We can hope and wish and dream and plan, but the reality of the merger and what it really can do to make our efforts in our towns, cities, counties and state legislature more effective remains to be seen.
And it’s not something determined solely by the people behind the yet-to-be-named organization. To put this on their shoulders alone is both unfair and unwise. This organization and the people who run it aren’t the only ones controlling the fate of our rights. Yes, we can trust them to be our voice and use our resources to fight for us, but we have to fight with them, too.
We should ask questions, and we should have high expectations for our new statewide organization. But let’s hold ourselves to the same standards, and then maybe we can get some real work done.