July 27, 2012

Thank You, Ben Gray

Last night, I attended the candle light vigil to end violence for Charlie "Rainbow Jane" Rogers.  While there, our City Councilman, Ben Gray, spoke to the assembled crowd.  His words were powerful, and a force of good.  Knowing we tend to hear the negative ten times as often as we do the positive, I sent him a note.  It is as follows:

"Dear Councilman Gray,

I was so happy to see you speak at the candle light vigil last night.  I spend very little time immersed in politics, mostly because discussing them is usually one of the fastest way to start an argument.  Working at a help desk, I have more than enough negativity in my day to day, that to add more just seems masochistic.  However, I feel very strongly about human rights, equality, and tolerance.  That’s my reasons for attending the gathering last night.  I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the evening, mostly I figured we’d mill around and have silent reflection or somber moments with those around us.  I figured it would be the numbers in attendance that would speak the loudest.  I’m very glad to know that I was wrong.

Your speech was, well, beautiful.  As I was standing there listening, I had the thought that it’s hundred degree heat in the middle of a field of dead grass, and I have goosebumps.  Thank you for believing in tolerance.  Thank you for believing that hate has no place in our lives.  And thank you for making sure that there’s no way in hell your message could be misinterpreted.  Several times during your oration, I wanted to cry out and cheer, but my voice would have failed.  You see, I’m not an overly emotional person, but you cracked that wall.  I choked up, and the “wooooo!” of approval wouldn’t have been able to make it past that knot in my throat.  Instead, I clapped till my hands stung, using my shoulder to wipe my eyes all the while.

Thank you Ben Gray, for standing up for Carlie “Rainbow Jane” Rogers, and for sending a message of tolerance, acceptance, and unequivocal solidarity at volume.  



 I hadn't expected to hear back from him, figuring that my one voice would be the anonymous Dixie cup of water to a marathon runner, but I was mistaken.  He took a moment to send me the following:

"Dear Ephemily,

Thank you for your very kind words but more than that, thank you for being there.  Our numbers reflect our desire for peace tolerance and respect.  We can no longer be silent when a few want to take our humanity from us.  Not being silent doesn't mean we have to speak.  As you so properly pointed out our numbers last night spoke volumes.  I'm just glad I was able to lend some purpose and some words that reflect what we all feel.  Again thank you for the kind words. 


I am proud of our city this morning.  This community, this support, these people, they are the good life.

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