Gosh I love starting the week off with a smile, and a big dose of Pride.
In Oregon last week, the Newberg School Board voted to ban any “political” speech from their schools because their messages can be divisive; the board was mostly talking about LGBTQ+ Pride flags and Black Lives Matter signs because, the board claims, and wait for it, it’s stunning, Pride support and BLM support make white and straight students feel excluded.
Actually, Pride and BLM support only makes bigots and racists feel excluded, and Erin McCarthy and her husband, Jaybill, who live in Newberg and own land on a hill about a half mile from Newberg High School, banded together with other residents to make a giant Pride flag on the hillside.
Jaybill McCarthy says the idea that you cannot have a Pride flag or a Black Lives Matter sign would “erase a bunch of people.” And so he and his wife shared their idea on social media and got responses from hundreds of people in town who either donated money for materials and helped build and erect the flag.
Erin McCarthy says:
“We wanted maximum visibility. The result is pretty amazing, we love it. It’s not expressing a Democratic idea or Republican idea or conservative or liberal. It’s human beings. It’s recognition that people exist.”
While the school board voted in favor of the policy to make white and straight students feel better at school, Tai Harden-Moore, a Black mother explained that her son faces discrimination in school where he is often called a N****r while other parents supported the ban saying that the Pride flag is for “deviants.” But Erin McCarthy says her message with the giant flag is:
“You are not alone. Even though this is difficult, there are people who are there for you.”
The McCarthy’s even painted the word “LOVE” in rainbow colors on their barn.
For the record, Pride does not exclude; it seeks to make LGBTQ+ youth feel included. And a Black Lives Matter sign is just that; it doesn’t say Only Black Lives Matter; it isn’t anti-white. It just means that for a very long time Black lives did not matter and it’s time we recognize that and learn from it.
And while I’m on the soapbox, neither idea is a political idea; they are social ideals of treating everyone equally, and anyone who tries to make them a partisan movement and works to ban the signs are on the side of history where not all men, and women, and LGBTQ+ Americans and Black Americans, are equal.
And that’s just plain wrong.