Thanks to the Salem-Keizer Proletariat substack writer, who on June 8 published "Keizer marks Pride Month with powerful call to do better," I learned about a moving example of speaking truth to power by McNary student Nevaeh Music -- who addressed the Keizer City Council at the invitation of Mayor Kathy Clark.
Music is Clark’s youth appointee to the city’s Community Diversity Engagement Committee - the only youth position in Keizer city government with committee voting power.
Clark indicated Music was invited to speak to the Council about Pride Month. But it was clear Music intended to use her time to instead tell an uncomfortable truth about Keizer, and a stern reminder to do better.
Here’s what Music said: (linked here and transcribed below)
You can read what Music said on the Salem-Keizer Proletariat post. The link above will take you to a YouTube video of the city council meeting that begins with Music's remarks. I've embedded the video below.
It's clear from Music's remarks that homophobia isn't just a vestige of our country's bigoted past, but is alive and well in Keizer. And not only there, but just about everywhere. Dislike of the LGBTQ community just isn't as obvious in Oregon as it used to be.
That's progress. Yet Nevaeh Music reminds us of how much more remains to be done. By all of us.
I wrote about this yesterday on my Church of the Churchless blog in a post I called The beauty of "We don't not care" rather than "We don't care." Here's an excerpt, along with the video I shared.
Sometimes a television program can get a moral point across in a few minutes of entertainment that is more clear and convincing than a lengthy ethical treatise.
That happened to me last night when my wife and I were watching an episode of season 3 of Ted Lasso on AppleTV+.
Before I share a clip of that scene, a bit of background.
Colin, one of the soccer (football, to most of the world) players on the professional team Lasso is coaching, inadvertently revealed that he was gay, homosexual, to the team captain, Isaac, when Isaac saw some photos on Colin's phone.
Isaac then gave Colin the cold shoulder, ignoring him and even acting nasty toward him during the first half of their soccer match. I thought Isaac was being homophobic. Not true. We later learn that Isaac was upset that Colin hadn't told him he was gay.
At halftime, after the team had played poorly, a fan yelled that they were all a bunch of faggots -- a derogatory term for a male homosexual. That set Isaac off. He charged into the seats, accosting the fan, which led to him getting a red card and being ejected from the game.
During the team's halftime meeting, Lasso asked why Isaac acted that way. Someone said that maybe it was because Isaac was gay. But Colin then revealed to the team for the first time that he was gay.
The reaction from team members: "We don't care." That spurred Ted Lasso to relate one of his folksy stories in order to convey a message to his team.
What struck me about this little speech was how while "We don't care" was supposed to express support for Colin, that actually was a weak gesture for their gay teammate.
Sure, we don't care that you're gay is much better than we dislike that you're gay, but it's way worse than we care about you and will support you. Which is why Lasso put it as "We don't not care." Because they actually do care about Colin.
The meaning I took away from this is that we shouldn't sit on the sidelines when someone or something we care about is being attacked or threatened or denigrated or ignored.