Over the month of January, I scouted and interviewed five outstanding women who took it upon themselves to create changes in their long-afflicted respective communities. Some issues revolved around religion, others around food, but it was my interview with Kymlee Dorsey, a transgender rights advocate that deeply resonated with me. Kym and I have different methods (me, as a writer; her, as a community advocate) but our work is the same: Getting down to the basic elements of humanity, allowing us to be judged by the "content of our character," as MLK would say, and not by our creed, color, religion, or any other qualifier.
As I transcribed my recording from our conversation, the following words shook me. I had to replay several times and let the meaning of her words resonate deep within. How timely her words were, how timely they have always been.
The paradigm of associating context and meaning to history often results in revisionism. It's easy to say that the Anglo-Christian men who wrote America's earliest documents were narrow in their meaning, excluding people of color (after all, many Founding Fathers were also slave owners), non-Christians, women, and people in the LGBTQ community.
Or maybe the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were left just vague enough to provide for a flexible governance that allows for All People to be included under the American umbrella.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. -- Declaration of Independence.
We are the governed. The consent is ours to give. And now the light shines on us. What we do with our time in the spotlight is as critical to the course of history and future generations as those words, written by white men, all those years ago.
My story on these influential women will appear next month in Women at Work magazine.