The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Birmingham: She's fallen and she can't get up.

Let me start by saying that I am really disappointed in aol email. I type in one address and the rest as blind carbon copies, and sometimes they just send it all as regular carbon copies. So this is an apology for what seems like mass carbons. They should be blind copies (and are on most days).

Yesterday’s post regarding the Birmingham resolution for inclusiveness that failed is the most popular blog posting I have done. And if email (local and from across the country) is any indication, it is an issue that people care deeply about. They are concerned about Birmingham’s image, and they are concerned about basic rights and safety for those of us who live in the area.

Most important is that when things like this happen people realize that change is not ineveitable, that even when we feel that we are progressing, unexpected turns may occur. That is not a time to run and hide, rather it makes us realize that we need to press on. And possibly those who have been complacent will be awakened and realize they need to become part of the process. Maybe they need to contact their representatives, or talk to their neighbors, to educate them about the issues of equality and justice. We can all do more.

I heard from people across town and across the country, and abroad, seeking direction or offering encouragement. Remember when I started this blog I said Bessemer was ready for change, and I think Birmingham is too. Mayor Kincaid said he was ready to sign this resolution and that Birmingham needed it. Well, he is right, but Bessemer needs it too. This resolution was not just about sexual orientation, as Ms. Witherspoon would have us to believe. It was about inclusion. And about not discriminating because of age, color, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender. Birmingham councilors would have you believe that race is the only type of discrimination that matters. It’s hard to imagine that a council person who is black and uses a wheelchair would speak so vehemently against this resolution and vote against it. But that is what happened.

People who are local and who are from other states, who are gay and who are straight, and who are white and who are of color, have said that this, once again, gives people across the nation (and the world, if readers of this blog are any indication) a bad impression of Birmingham. And they are right. They realize that you don't have to be gay, or disabled, or a minority, to believe that people should be treated with respect. You don't even have to "agree" with them to accept that their lives have value, and that they should be included in the broad quilt of diversity that make up the human race. Birmingham has fallen, and she can’t get up! Not without your help. Please read Jason's comment below. That is one way to help!

The Lady Banks Rose is in full bloom now.

This large azalea is in the back yard.

The side of the house with dogwoods and azaleas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I challenge all citizens and visitors of Birmingham (whether gay or straight, black or white, disabled or non-disabled) to write to each of the council members to express your opinions and concerns to them. These are the leaders that the citizens of Birmingham have chosen to elect to be a representation of the people. Do they have the overall concern of the citizens and of Birmingham at hand? I see most of them as having selfish “good ol’ boy” mentalities that embrace their own fears, bigotries, and prejudices. Carol Reynolds Duncan made it clear that some council members talk badly about people and discriminate against individuals while behind closed doors in private committee meetings. I have seen other individuals like this in my own life—whether telling a joke at the water fountain at work or snickering under one’s covered hands into another’s ears. Unfortunately, this time the council members could not separate their own personal agendas from those that would most benefit the city of Birmingham. The resolution was a stance that Birmingham welcomes all individuals to the city and not a law that would enforce any such violation. Even still, these elected officials (by their own individual votes) desire to continue to monitor and hand pick which citizens and/or visitors may be welcome within the city limits of Birmingham.

We must be verbal in letting our voices be heard. I wrote each of the council members recently and encourage each of you to do the same.
Valerie Abbott, voted yes
Carole Smitherman, voted yes
Carol Reynolds Duncan, voted yes
Miriam Witherspoon, voted no
Steve Hoyt, voted no
Joel Montgomery, voted no
Roderick Royal, voted no
Maxine Parker, abstained
William Bell, not present to vote