Evolution: It's been a long time coming

Point of View

While on the road in 1963 Sam Cooke penned the original draft of his classic song " A Change Is Gonna Come" while sitting in the back of his tour bus.
The song became the soundtrack of the Civil Rights movement for the sixties and inspired many since.
It didn't just come to him, the words came through him. The song captured the pain and hope of the Civil Rights movement to the African American community.
The words expressed the hopes and dreams of equality carried across time by the cries for freedom of oppressed people universally.
Equality may not have been born by the river in a little tent, but just like the river it's been running ever since.
Again and again, during our social evolution, these cries for freedom and equality have found a voice. Much like the little boy who cried "The Emperor has no clothes," someone states the obvious and, with that single act or deed, the dominos of inequality start to fall.
Such was the case when President Obama completed his evolution on same-sex marriage, announcing in an interview with ABC's Robin Roberts that he believed "same-sex couples should be able to get married."
Even though many within the LGBT community had grown impatient with the slow pace of Obama's "evolution," we knew it was going to happen but what we didn't know was what would happen in the aftermath.
Obama's declaration was not a "surprise," but for many still struggling with internalized homophobia, confused by rhetoric blurring the distinction between religious rites and civil rights it was shocking.
For those leaning even further to the extreme right, it was a declaration of war.
Despite wishing gay pride participants a "Great Pride Weekend with the inscription 'All Citizens Deserve Equal Rights, Regardless of their Sexuality,'" while Governor of Massachusetts, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney reaffirmed his position "that marriage ought to be defined between one man and one woman."
Ministers decried Obama's position with calls from African American clergy urging Black voters to turn against President Obama in November
But then the other shoe dropped and it was a good shoe for equality.
African American leaders including the Rev. Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network, Julian Bond, chairman emeritus of NAACP, Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition for Black Civic Engagement, and Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, Civil Rights icon and president emeritus of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, released an open letter embracing President Obama's position on equality for the LGBT community. Even rap-mogul Jay-Z and actor Will Smith came out in support of gay marriage.
In a scathing open letter available on, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss II of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, IL called out ministers saying, "gay people have never been the enemy and when we use rhetoric to suggest they are the source of all our problems we lie on God."
With those words, "I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," President Obama opened the floodgates and the walls began to tumble down.
And then the granddaddy of them all, The NAACP, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, released a resolution supporting marriage equality as a continuation of its historic commitment to equal protection under the law. In a statement Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors, Roslyn M Brock said, "The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure the political, social and economic equality of all people. We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law."
Before you get too happy remember this, nothing has changed. Although public opinion shows the tide turning with more people supporting LGBTQ equality and marriage, over 30 states have amendments/legislation banning same-sex marriage. Obama's "evolution" does not rescind DOMA – The Defense of Marriage Act.
Too little, too late – hardly!! It's been a long time coming and our change is going to come.
And there will be a price to pay.
In 1901 President Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to dinner at the White House bending the rules of segregation. The repercussions from this dinner were the attack on African American's in the south.
Following the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act there were lynchings and bombings across the south.
And on Tuesday May 15th LGBTQ offices in Washington DC including those of the Human Rights Campaign, The Task Force and National Black Justice Coalition were evacuated following a very credible, potential bomb threat reported against a DC LGBT organization.
Some might call it a tipping point, others synchronicity, today it's evolution, the reality is we have reached a critical point in an evolving situation that leads to a new and irreversible development.
This is a pivotal moment in our struggle for equality, a time to celebrate, to be energized, to push for the finish line, not to bemoan the past.
To borrow again from Sam Cooke, "There have been times that we thought we couldn't last for long/but now I think we're able to carry on. It's been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come."

Topics: Opinions

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