In 2022, I had both the honor and privilege of walking those last earthly months with my friend Sandra, who was experiencing the final stages of pancreatic cancer. Those were days filled with reflection, conversation, laughter and love.
After speaking in Ann Arbor at the Women’s March in October, I went over to Sandra’s house to talk about her day, my day, the event and, of course, a little politics. At some point, Sandra went into the other room and came out with a scrapbook. In it were clippings of some of my op-eds from Between The Lines.
I was touched and surprised. When I asked her why she had kept this scrapbook, she replied, “You are who you are — always fighting the good fight and reminding us through your writing that we should all try to be better humans.”
This year I was faced with my own health challenge. As I recovered, I flipped through that scrapbook and came across an op-ed from the May 29, 2008 issue of Between The Lines that still rings true: “The Audacity of Pride.”
As a queer, Black woman, artist and activist, I see my many intersectional communities making progress but still under attack. It’s not only one step forward, two steps back, but often just making that one step is bogged down as if walking through quicksand. It can be hard and laborious.
As the Hollies song goes, “The road is long with many a winding turn that leads us to who knows where.” Transphobia, homophobia, racism, gun violence, book censorship, anti-abortion legislation, attacks on voting rights, the environment — there is so much work yet to be done.
Fifteen years later, as I reread that op-ed, I realize I am still filled with more than the audacity of hope but am emboldened to have the audacity to believe change is going to come. Inspired by the new voices and new leaders (especially from youth and within our LGBTQ+ community), we may not be there yet, but we are on our way.