Today I was standing in a check-out line at a store. The cash register malfunctioned and we were all waiting for a manager to show up. As we waited we could hear a loud humming noise, but we didn't know where it came from. It went on and on, until finally a little girl showed up in front of me and said, "I'm the most interestingest singer!"
"You sure are!" I said, "I could hear you the whole time!" And it was about that time that her mother, in front of me in line, started in on the little girl, told her to shut her mouth and stand still, yelled at her about her clothes, and basically controlled her every move from there on out. I gave the mother a look of surprise, because I certainly wasn't bothered by the little girl - it sure beat waiting for the darn manager to arrive. A minute later, the girl found a cooler and cups and helped herself to a glass of water, when an older man, a store employee, said, "You can't drink that! That's for the employees. The employees ONLY!" to which the mother replied, "She don't know no better, she's just a child, if you have a problem you talk to me, not to her."
Deep breaths. This was not going well. My heart ached for the little girl caught between these two negative people.
I don't get meanness. I just don't get it. It makes my heart hurt to hear about the horrid things people do to each other; it gets in my head and hurts deep down and I can't shake it. I remember one time a friend said to be careful what you take in, because once you've taken it in, it's there forever. With my porous Pisces skin, being witness to meanness or abuse can send me into quite a tailspin.
The video above made me cry. It was posted on a blog I visit on occasion, and I'm compelled to share it here so that we might all take a moment to make a difference - go to The Human Rights Campaign and send an email to your congressperson, urging their support in passing the Matthew Shepard Act.
On May 3, the United States House passed the federal hate crimes legislation with bi-partisan support (237 - 180). The legislation now heads to the United States Senate, where it has been renamed the Matthew Shepard Act. In response to this, Judy Shepard, Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, said "I can’t think of a better way to honor Matthew’s memory. He was a 21-year-old college student just living his life."