Iroquois Place, a peaceful little street in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is looking very festive this holiday season and it has nothing to do with Christmas lights or wreaths or Nativity scenes.
Out of the forty houses along the one-block street seventeen are flying the LGBTQ Rainbow Pride flag, while four others are flying Old Glory.
The neighborhood has come together since the presidential election and all because of an anonymous note left in the mailbox of Mark and Susan Pearlman.
The Pearlmans had put up a flag—a spin on the American flag with stars and rainbow-colored stripes—after the Pulse Nightclub mass shooting in June. They have a daughter who is gay, so that attack that killed 49 people and injured 53 others hit close to home.
"And then just the day after the election, there it was -- an anonymous letter in my mailbox, basically saying that they were uncomfortable with my flag. It was just a little disconcerting. There was something threatening about that. I found myself for two nights, I just kept looking out the window. Like, is someone watching me? There was no address."
The anonymous note read:
"I have great pride in being American. I love our country and am proud of our freedoms. I have great reverence for the men and women who have fought for those freedoms and for our flag itself and all it represents. I was troubled by the rainbow version of the American flag because it overlooks so many things the original American flag represents. The flag is missing the white stripes that represent purity and innocence. The missing red stripes overlook the valor and bravery of our soldiers and the American people.
Our flag is a sacred representation of our country's history that we are so blessed to be a part of. So, I ask you as your neighbor and fellow American to consider flying two flags, the American flag and the rainbow flag, side by side."
Susan Pearlman told her neighbors about the letter and their first response was, "Where do I get a flag?"
It spread as neighbors began telling other neighbors and now, well, it’s a very Rainbow Christmas on Iroquois Place because the Pearlmans spoke up and their neighbors stood up.
Up in North Carolina, the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan [KKK] had planned a victory parade this past weekend to celebrate Donald _____’s but, well, things happen.
The white supremacist Hate Group was forced to relocate their little parade from Pelham to Roxboro because of the hundreds of counter-protesters showed up to express their displeasure.
And it’s unclear is a “parade” happened at all because, in Roxboro, that afternoon, there were simply a bunch of morons and miscreants and _____lodytes driving around in pick-up trucks, waving Confederate flags, and shouting “WHITE POWER” at passersby.
But, in Charlotte, Salisbury, and Raleigh, North Carolina hundreds of marchers turned out for a “love march” to show the Klan that their brand of hate was not welcome.
A Love March bested a Hate Parade because people stood up.
Mike Pence is set to become the most antigay Vice President in modern history, and some folks in his new, temporary, DC neighborhood want him to know that they don’t like that.
Ilse Heintzen lives just down the block from where Pence is currently staying and she didn’t like the idea of a known homophobe on the street so she and her neighbors stepped up.
And, as in Ann Arbor, the Rainbow Flag began flying on the street where Mike Pence lives.
“A respectful message showing, in my case, my disagreement with some of his thinking.”— Ilse Heintzen
Pence is known for passing a law in Indiana allowing businesses to legally discriminate against LGBTQ people on religious grounds, but even more disturbing is that Mike Pence supports gay conversion therapy and, of course, is virulently anti-marriage equality.
And now, and until late January, every time Mike Pence leaves his home, he’ll find more than a dozen Rainbow Flags waving at him because Ilse Heintzen and her neighbors resisted.
While some Muslims—and the mosques where they worship—have been subjected to racism, bigotry and hate, a Texas man ... yes, a Texas man ... is taking a stand.
Justin Normand has been standing outside the Islamic Center of Irving, near Dallas, holding this sign:
“You Belong. Stay Strong. Be Blessed. We Are One America.”
“It is the message — not me — that is transcendent. I just spoke what is on a lot of people’s minds. We are out here to help one another, and your community needs help. “I’m an American and — regardless of who’s here, Americans or immigrants — we’ve got to be here for one another. I’m just here because somebody’s got to speak up and say, ‘You’re valued. You’re okay. You’re part of what’s going on here.’ ” —Justin Normand
Normand’s husband—yes, he’s a gay man—Gary Cathey, said that after the election the two had been praying for a way to make a positive impact:
“This came from what Justin felt like someone following the teachings of Jesus would do. This came from a very spiritual place. Justin made the sign and God has done the rest.”
“We have policies in place [in California] that probably won’t pass at the federal level for another five, 10, 15 years. If you want to take on a forward-leaning state that is prepared to defend its rights and interests, then come at us.”
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand demonstrated the hurdles to confirming former Marine General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense: Unlike other cabinet nominees, his appointment could be subject to a 60-vote threshold if Democrats filibuster the waiver he'll need as former military to fill a civilian post.
"Anything that makes _____ more powerful, makes him more dangerous, we must not lift a finger to help him scam our country. We must instead put every effort into stopping him."
"Republicans do not have majority support in this country. The majority of voters supported Democratic Senate candidates over Republicans ones, and the majority supported a Democratic presidential candidate over a Republican one."
After Crotch, took to the “front page of the internet” to describe how she had recently left the Mormon Church, making her the hot topic of the neighborhood, she told of how Church members kept coming to her home to try and get her and her husband to re-join the church.
One woman wouldn’t leave Crotch and her family alone; Crotch says:
“She came bouncing over and when my husband told her we no longer attended [the Church], she didn’t get the message. [S]he went on to tell us how horrified she was when her son got turned down for prom because the girl was already planning on going with her girlfriend.”
The neighbor then rained down all of her anti-LGBT views about how she disagreed with the local school raising awareness about transgender issues.
“That, coupled with the school’s justification for letting lesbians attend the prom together and doing an assembly that taught kids the facts about being transgender were just too much for her. She said that she had to move away because she was so sick of the gays and transgenders and everyone making their ‘lifestyle’ okay.”
So, Rosey Crotch decided to answer her neighbor’s views with one of her own, albeit with a much more colorful tone; she bought nearly ten thousand colored lights and created a Rainbow Flag on the shrubbery outside her home.
It’s a stand against homophobia, both by the neighbor and by the church; it's resistance to hatred; it’s a voice, in living color that says intolerance will not last.
Since April of this year, Native Americans have been protesting the planned construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline [DAPL]. The movement has grown larger and the resistance from state and federal agencies has also grown equally stubborn.
Activists have been assaulted with all forms of abusive measures—water guns, for example, the kind used against black Americans protesting in the 1960s—that are never used when say, for example, criminal and racist white gun owners are “protecting” federal land.
But a few days ago it was announced that 2,000 military veterans were going to Standing Rock to form a human shield for the water protectors, and now the National Nurses United [NNU] have announced a meaningful donation and show of support for those veterans forming the human shield they will donate $50,000 to support the veterans who are assembling this weekend as peaceful, unarmed defenders for the water protectors at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota.
The veterans plan on protecting the protectors starting December 4, for three days at least. The weather conditions are freezing and these men and women will once again be putting their lives on the line to protect our country’s best and most inspiring values.
Standing up; speaking up; resisting; mobilizing.
That’s all it takes; maybe a few Rainbow flags, or some colored lights; maybe saying something; maybe offering a hand in a protest; perhaps starting a parade to counter hate; maybe telling people that no matter what those in power in Washington may say, they belong here.