This week, my kids and I pulled on rain gear and headed into Portland at my kids’ witching hour. I ignored my better judgment that it was a terrible idea to go into public during the time when they’re usually screaming at the table because they want each other’s forks. The cause for throwing my caution to the wind: a candlelight vigil demonstrating our support for refugees.
I’m horrified that our federal government is upending this country’s foundational principle of welcoming people from overseas. Yet while an inclusive message is literally chiseled into our country’s most iconic symbol, America also has a long history of excluding people those in power deem to be too “other.”
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
My heart breaks for those who have been affected by President Trump’s immigration and refugee ban. I also fear for those who have already made it to the U.S., because despite living through harrowing circumstances to get here, they face an uncertain future—again.
So with these “tempest-tossed” individuals and families in mind, I pushed aside my comparatively minor anxieties around rain and low blood sugar-induced tantrums. My girls and I showed up at the vigil to demonstrate to everyone that we, too, say, “Refugees welcome here.”
On Tuesday, as Senator Elizabeth Warren was reading a letter from Coretta Scott King in opposition to the appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general, senate majority leader Mitch McConnell invoked an obscure rule to silence her. “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” McConnell later said. Democrats were outraged; Senator Warren continued reading the letter on Facebook live, which has been watched by more than 11.6 million people (and counting).
The phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted” became a feminist rallying cry overnight.
Observers can’t help but notice that Senator Warren was silenced, but majority leaders allowed democratic senator from Oregon Jeff Merkley—a man—finish it uninterrupted. And although Warren was silenced on the Senate floor, she persisted.
Her persistence—her grit—should be admirable to anyone on either side of the aisle. I sure hope my girls will look to examples like hers as a role model of persevering in the face of opposition, whether it be sexism, oppression or just the everyday difficulties that make us stumble. Read more
Yesterday was an effin’ big day for Oregon: A judge effectively struck down a constitutional amendment that limited marriage to heterosexual people. As of yesterday at noon, same-sex couples can now have their union recognized by the state and enjoy the rights that come along with marriage.
I am so happy and so relieved.
I’m thrilled for my friends who can now marry in the state (including some who wasted no time and got re-hitched yesterday in Eugene!). I was in tears over the newlywed strangers embracing after brief and public ceremonies.
Finally, their expressions of joy said.
I am proud that my daughter will grow up in a state that no longer condones and enforces marriage inequality. I imagine that she will look back on this fight and be just as confused and frustrated as my generation is when we consider laws against interracial marriage.
My daughter will be able to marry the person whom she loves, man or woman. I’m grateful that this is one less injustice she’ll have to rail against.
As US District Judge Michael McShane, the judge who overturned the amendment, said yesterday,
“Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other … and rise.”
My heart is soaring, and I can feel us all rising together.