This past February the world of LGBT social justice met Malcom, a 7-year old boy who gave $140 to The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. His donation slip read “I am sending you this money because I don’t think it’s fair that gay people are not treated equally.” Malcom’s gesture was a reminder to many of us that, even in a world of bullies, institutionalized hatred and LGBTphobia, that there is still good left in human kind worth cultivating.
Inspired by Malcom’s unorchestrated generosity, I dedicate this article to a special LGBT Crossroads Column reader who wrote to legacy to share his story. His name is Jeffery Coleman. Jeffery also has a dream, a vision, and I was very proud to know that some of my words fueled him to also step up and leave his own legacy behind. Jeffery wants to give back to his community in the way he knows best. Taking excerpts from his touching letter to legacy, Jeffery shares with us the following:
“IT’S SO UNFORTUNATE THAT WE STILL LIVE IN A SOCIETY OF HATE, IGNORANCE AND BULLYING. NOT TO MENTION HOMOPHOBIA IN THIS DAY AND AGE. IT SEEMS LIKE THE MORE WE TRY TO MOVE FORWARD THE FURTHER BACK SOME PEOPLE WANT TO PUSH US.” I could not agree more with Jeffery. But unfortunate or not, our lives need to move forward and we need to grow strong. Together as one, we can fight injustice and defeat intolerance. In an intolerant heterosexually-dominant society, LGBTphobes can push all they want, but our strength is increasing in numbers and our voice is getting louder.
“AS I CONTINUE TO TRY AND GET MY BOOK OF POETRY PUBLISHED I CONTINUE TO WRITE POEMS ABOUT LIFE. LIKE YOU, I WOULD LIKE TO START MY OWN AGENCY…I HAVE MANAGED TO SPEND MY TIME THINKING ABOUT MY LIFE AND HOW BEING IN A PLACE LIKE THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN!!… SO, FOR ME THE TIME HAS COME TO MOVE FORWARD…” I really feel that Jeffery has hit a milestone with his words here. I call it bringing “closure” to mistakes we make in life time and time again. History has an ugly tendency to repeat itself. And this history only gets worse when we choose not to put remedy to tripping on the same rock again and again.
In a previous piece that I wrote, I introduced the concept of a “beacon.” By definition a beacon is a guiding or signaling device with the purpose to shine a light or fire so that someone can see it and find their way home. At legacy, we believe people can be Beacons® too. The humble act by Malcom and the life realization to change and give back by Jeffery are living proof that individuals do have agency. This ability to enact change is an art not too difficult to master, of course, when we apply ourselves willfully. As Beacons of Hope, like Malcom and Jeffery, we too can instill in others that we can move mountains.
Jeffery, along with my ELEMENTS (a dedicated group of caring and committed volunteers) at legacy, we wish you the best of luck with “Moving Forward Agency, Inc.” Please stay in touch and keep us updated with your project. Let us know how we can be of any assistance.
To Malcom, all I can say is that you may be too young to realize that, not so much your donation, but your honest wish for gay people to be treated fairly will go down in my books. There was once a lady who refused to give up her seat… you have refused to let bigotry and ignorance cloud what you know deep in your heart is true, and “fair.” Do not let this sometimes-misguided-sometimes-backwards world ever get to you. Always stay true and be honest with yourself.
Best wishes and thank you both for being Beacons of Hope that this world so desperately needs.
To all others, should you want to share your story and what your legacy is to your community, please do not hesitate to contact us. The world needs to know that there is hope, and that YOU, are a part of making it a better place!
legacy is committed to empower and strengthen the lives of LGBT individuals.
legacy truly believes that change happens from within. Get involved. Get empowered! Please contact one of legacy ELEMENTS by visiting our brand new website at www.legacywhatsyours.org, or like our page on Facebook: Legacy – What’s Yours, Inc. You can also send your direct inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quick legacy activities update:
We just celebrated two of our inaugural activities: Nature Connection® Beach Breeze Mixer and the first annual Signature Event Queerceañera.® We would like to extend our most sincere gratitude to our participants and Padrinos/Madrinas. We owe the success thanks to YOU!
Gay Pride Season, here we come!
legacy – what’s yours …
By Joseph García