When I think about the holidays I think about family, mountains, the pacific coast and green for miles. I’m from the beautiful state of Oregon. For most people in the Midwest that means Portland. If you’ve seen Portlandia, yes, it’s all true even though it seems satirical and blown out of proportion. It is also true that the west coast is very pro-diversity. No matter the studies that the Latino population is “rising up” from California as an undercurrent rumbling or that you may never see an African American until you move to the “big city.” We don’t talk about those things in great detail. We also don’t talk about the LGBT community. In fact, it’s talked about so little that there are two sides to the coin; it’s either a live-and-let-live situation or you could be staring down the barrel of a shotgun. What you also don’t see are the pockets of small towns that a majority of us grew up in. Those tiny insulated communities that protect and shelter you from the rest of the world and in turn, shut a lot of it out. As I was growing up, I found that there are glimpses of hope (the loving people) when you’re from a place that doesn’t seem to accept you, that doesn’t show you role models and exposes you to people that taunt and jeer you. You have to catch one or more of those glimpses of hope (the loving people), learn from them and pay it forward. You have to be the loving people for others. United Way of Metropolitan Chicago (UWMC) has accepted the challenge to be a glimpse of hope. We created our own It Gets Better video. Click here to view the extended version. The dedicated people in this video are UWMC employees, volunteers and friends. Marion, from North Shore United Way, makes a comment in the video that resonates with me: “Look toward the loving people.” When you’re able to look toward the loving people all the others will fade into the background. That’s not to say they go away, they just fade, because love is so much stronger than hate. If you are in crisis and need assistance or know someone who is, please have them contact the Center on Halsted 773.472.6469 or the Trevor Project 1-866-4-U-TREVOR.
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