Nothing good has ever been born from a place of hate. For as much as I advocate for the Mentally Ill, that is far from my limitation. Let me give you a brief education on my background.
I was raised by a Puerto Rican Roman Catholic Mother and an Eastern European Jewish father in an incredibly culturally diverse and culturally rich community just outside of New York City. I had the privilege of being exposed to a multitude of religions, socio-economic statuses, and nationalities during my formative years. I also had the benefit of learning by example from both of my parents to love, accept and appreciate all people and their differences. If someone wasn’t like me it was an opportunity for me to broaden my horizons and get exposed to a different world view. This made me a humanitarian and by my own choosing I became an advocate of the people as well: all people, not just people “like me”.
I was raised in the Jewish faith for the first 18 years of my life at which point I decided to explore something that made more sense to me and who I was. I have nothing against Judaism whatsoever, I have a deep fondness for it and will always identify with it on a cultural level if not a religious one.
A big part of being raised in the Jewish Faith is learning about The Holocaust. A near extinction of an entire race. It started out small with hateful thoughts about how Jews were lesser than others and the cause of all that was wrong. The Jews were ostracized, people boycotting their businesses simply because they were Jewish and other businesses refusing to serve them simply because they were Jewish. It escalated to the Jews being forcefully taken from their homes and forced to live in gated communities with armed guards. Their belongings stolen from them, families separated, concentration camps. The complete dehumanization of the Jews. They were no longer people, but objects or vermin.
This is merely one example of countless throughout history of how hate towards the “other” and belief in superiority over the “other” has destroyed humanity at its core. It’s been done to Native Americans, African Americans, Muslims, The Mentally Ill, etc. It is not okay and I cannot support any person or entity that projects this hateful mentality. As a good friend stated, not only is it my right to do something but it is my moral obligation.
Yesterday I took a stance against a business that is openly homophobic and anti-Semitic. These are both huge issues for me I cannot simply turn a blind eye to. This is my choice and if others do not agree with it for whatever reason I simply ask that they respect it. I have not attacked others on social media when they have posted various things that have offended me or that I have deeply disagreed with because they have their right to that opinion, as I have not censored ANY of them I will not censor myself either.
Disney’s Pocahontes said it best “You think the only people who are people, are the people who look and think like you. But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger you’ll learn things you never knew you never knew.” Ultimately I feel sorry for those who close themselves off to anyone or anything that is unlike them because they are cheating themselves out of a multitude of experiences as well as the opportunity for personal growth and development. It is a choice each person needs to make for themselves and my choice is for love and acceptance.
The Holocaust did not happen overnight, it started small. I will not stand by quietly in the early stages of any movement bred by hate.