Love and Protect Thy Neighbors Even If They May Look Different Than You

Happy Pride Familia.

This little cutie that I’m hanging out with here, that’s my goddaughter, and she has 2 moms. Back in 1983, although I was only 23 years old, I had to stand up and fight the churches in St. Thomas US. Virgin Island that she’d be christened under their roof. After a long bit of denial, protest, and convincing, we were finally able to at the episcopal church in downtown Charlotte Amalie. Something to which I’m most proud of this day.

Although this isn’t much to do about my goddaughter and everything to do about how we raised our children, not to hate, but to instead love and change the world through their love.

Our youngest daughter, Onyana’s best friend from high school, Brittanie, recently came out to the world. It was, as my daughter puts it, “very challenging for her, I’m so happy to have been there to support.” So we went on talking, she added that Britney has found happiness and that she, has since bought a house. That thankfully her mother has finally accepted her and her girlfriend, and that Brittanie is so thankful for her being there. That her mom, was perhaps inspired to realized that her daughter wasn’t alone, but was rather embraced via the courage and strength of friends.

Anyway that was a couple of weeks ago. Last night following our long conversation about life, her boyfriend, business, creativity, art, since we are both artists, etc. Of course, this is pride month, so I asked about Britney and how were things going with her? If she was ready to embrace her first pride celebration, etc?

Her response came back in a form of high pitch, “yes, dad! Britney is happy!!! So, so happy!” She’s going to some parties, etc, etc!

My wife Damaris and I love Brittanie, she vacationed with us, back in 2009 at Hilton Head, South Carolina. Britney is one of those kids that we all just want to love, and that one would never want to hear nothing but good things happening in their life… she is funny, sweet, full of life, with drippings of (creativity and jovial black girl magic flowing through her pours like a blessing.)

I’m so proud to have been part in the shaping of my daughter’s heart and mind. So proud and happy to have been on the right side of love and shared history. Happy Pride to all of our beloved brothers, sisters, none gender conforming, loving neighbors with whom we share this space.

I hope and pray that you too may have good friends like my beautiful daughter, Yannie to relay upon if there’s a need in understanding, as you try to live your best life. Be blessed!

I was on the beach back when the Somosa regime was finally overthrown in 1979 by the Sandinista National Liberation Front during the Nicaraguan Revolution.

At such time, like all good third world liberators, they somehow tend to also go after does most vulnerable, often spearheaded by the church.

In an attempt to appease the church and gain the conservative support, Sandinistas throughout Nicaragua, suddenly decided to go after the brotels, sex workers, and of course the LGBTQ community, as if they’d been hurting or had the power of oppressing anyone, besides struggling each day to survive, while being simply victims caught in the midst of the crosshairs of two groups of fighters and violent abusers, both claiming, country, justice and freedom.

Not sure exactly how this actually made any Nicaraguan, who’d lived under the powerful military boot of the Somoza Family regime feel free or justified, but they expelle, jailed and kill countless members of the LGBTQ, although many managed to get away and flee across the border of neighboring countries. Many came to Honduras seeking refuge with families and friends. I’d been home on the beach for about month, awaiting a call from a shipping company that was about to launch a new ship. to send me out. Although not yet a mental health worker, and had 0 inkling toward such, as yet. But one could tell from afar that these people had been severely traumatized.

Anyway, as most young men throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, we tend to hangout at night under the lamppost, chitchat, greet friends, and admired and whisper sweet verses at the young ladies as they passed by heading home.

On this particular night, a quiet middle of week night, myself and a couple of other friends stood under the lamppost near home, mostly talking about ship life and the current military situation. Concerned perhaps, because since the Somoza military regime had been thrown that perhaps the Honduran government might start kidnapping us in order to beefed up snd boost their army. I was mostly concerned about getting the hell out.

20 minutes into the conversation, appears “el Ruso”, on his bicycle. He was big and red, the towns bully. A mechanic by trade, whom was feared by most, because they claimed he was crazy and would do things to hurt people and always gotten away with it since his days in elementary school. So as he greeted us, he chained right into the conversation, we all continued listening and sharing. About 10 minutes later one of these young men who’d been now officially considered refuges war, passed by and greeted us good night. While three of us answered, ‘the Ruso’ began mumbling under his breath, turning red as fire, to then get louder, screaming about “how I hate these people, would love to kill them, etc.” I’d never seen anything like it.

Nor was I going to sit there and witnessed someone getting hurt without lifting a finger.

So he threw his bicycle aside and went after this innocent guy for no apparent reason. But I had picked up his bike and follow. So, as he was to throw a punch from behind, I was able to pull that arm backwards, throw his bicycle on his chest and pin him down, until the young brother had gotten a chance to run and gotten away. That was my first and only street fight as a young man, besides getting into other fights while defending my younger brothers.

Of course, I realized then that I myself had to go into hiding, since ‘El Ruso’ as a bully did not take humiliation too lightly. Rumors had it he’d been out searching for me. Meanwhile, my ship call came, although not the brand new one, but one just in time to escape harm.

This however, changed my life. I realized that it was perhaps what propelled me to become an advocate snd served my community as a career, as I retired from the field of mental health years later. Standing up for others and defending someone, is part of that blessing in our walk through life that we all talk about, but hardly ever put into practice.

To the White brothers, you could do this for us Black people. To the Black brothers, you could do this to our LGBTQ family. To our Latina Brothers and sisters, you could do this for our Asian families… and in the end, we’ll all feel better about ourselves and our world.

E pluribus unum – Latin for “Out of many, one” – is a traditional motto of the United States, appearing on the Great Seal… its inclusion on the seal was approved by an Act of Congress in 1782.

The Jamaican currency motto reads, “Out of Many We Are All But One.”

Yet today, we still wiggle our asses into finding ugly ways to justify our hatred toward the other.

Be Blessed!

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