Where were you?

In the near future there will be a museum that displays the oppression people of color, Muslims, women, the LGBTQ community, and other minorities faced today.  There will be a wall full of hashtags with names such as Philando Castile, an exhibit about a baker who refused to serve people because of their sexual orientation, an illustration to show the millions of people who were denied healthcare in favor of tax cuts for the rich, an exhibit with the story of a Muslim teenager who was abducted and murdered only because she was a Muslim, a story about anti-LGBTQ bathroom laws that mirrored the “whites only” signs of Jim Crow, an exhibit about a wall that was built on the border of Mexico because of a racist nationalistic idea that Mexicans are “bad hombres”, the story of how our first Black President was pressured to produce a long-form birth certificate because of a racist lie, a hallway of women who were denied their right to choose by a group of men,  and an exhibit about laws that banned Muslims from traveling to the United States.

One day you will walk into this museum with your children or grandchildren and they will see the awful hate that people suffered through today.  They will wonder who allowed this and why did this happen.  They will have one question that will matter most, “Where were you?”   When you respond will they see you as a hero because you spoke out against hate?  Or, will they see you as a racist xenophobic misogynistic bigot who was actively involved in the hate or complicit by inaction?

Will you be able to explain to your children that you didn’t support police reform after the countless lives lost at the hands of police?  Will you tell them that their friend’s parents weren’t allowed to order cakes at the bakery for their wedding because of the LGBTQ discrimination laws you supported?  Will you have the courage to tell to them you supported banning an entire religion from entering the country?  What will your daughter say when you tell her you supported a group of men in D.C. to make decisions about her body?  Will you be able to live with yourself after telling them they can’t have the treatments necessary to cure their illness because you voted against the healthcare legislation they now need?

I can confidently say that our children will be proud of where we were.  Will yours?


Cornell WatsonComment