Monday, August 17, 2015

Julian Bond: RIP ... And Thank You

Julian Bond, Civil Rights leader, activist, politician, professor and writer died yesterday at the age of seventy-five.

From the 60s the the 21st Century he fought for change, for equality. He helped establish the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] and he served for over twenty years in the Georgia House of Representatives and its Senate. He was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center [SPLC]; he was selected as chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP] and stayed on until 2009 when the organization celebrated its 100th anniversary. 

For Bond Civil Rights means rights for everyone, and he was as outspoken an advocate for the LGBT community as he was for the African American community. He publicly stated his support for same-sex marriage and even boycotted the funeral services for Coretta Scott King — who supported LGBT rights — on the grounds that the King children had chosen an anti-gay church as the venue; he was a lot of things, to a lot of people, but let’s have Julian Bond tell us who he was in his own words:

African Americans ... were the only Americans who were enslaved for two centuries, but we were far from the only Americans suffering discrimination then and now.... Sexual disposition parallels race. I was born this way. I have no choice. I wouldn’t change it if I could. Sexuality is unchangeable.

The civil rights movement didn't begin in Montgomery and it didn't end in the 1960s. It continues on to this very minute.

Discrimination is discrimination no matter who the victim is, and it is always wrong. There are no special rights in America, despite the attempts by many to divide blacks and the gay community with the argument that the latter are seeking some imaginary special rights at the expense of blacks.
If you don't like gay marriage, don't get gay married.
I do think that some of us began to realize that this was going to be a long struggle that was going to go on for decades, and you’d have to knuckle down. A lot of people in our generation did that. They didn’t drop out and run away.
Most of those who made the movement were not famous, they were the faceless. They were the nameless, the marchers with tired feet, the protesters beat back with fire hoses and billy clubs, and the unknown women and men who risked job and home and life.
If your Bible tells you that gay people ought not be married in your church, don't tell them they can't be married at city hall. Marriage is a civil rite as well a civil right, and we can't let religious bigotry close the door to justice to anyone.The humanity of all Americans is diminished when any group is denied rights granted to others.
There is no coloration to rights. Everybody has rights. I don’t care who you are, where you come from. You got rights. I got rights. All God’s children got rights. We could make a song out of this. But anyway, I think this discussion is more a diversion than anything else. Because we all have rights. And they are human rights because we are human beings. And that’s just it for me.

RIP … and Thank You

3 comments:

the dogs' mother said...

He was a good guy and gone too soon.

anne marie in philly said...

I remember the SNCC; and spouse supports the SPLC with $$$.

and the struggle goes on...

Biki Honko said...

He left a towering monument to how to effect change. It's to bad there is still so much work left to do.