The following reflection was graciously shared by Johnny Burleson - a prolific fundraiser, advocate, ally, activist, friend to folks on all sides of all kinds of aisles. A native of Albermarle, his NC roots go from coast (Ocracoke) to coast (Lansing) with current residence in Chapel Hill; we can assure you that anyone would be blessed to call this man neighbor. In the divisive wake of this weeks HB2 resolution, we appreciate his thoughtful and practical insight into the complicated nature of building civil society.... Thanks for taking the time to #reflectandresist !
HB2 was a very personal issue for me - and I've been reserved in weighing in on the repeal/compromise debate, but I can’t sit this one out any longer.
The repeal of HB2 has ushered in a new opportunity to reset and begin to talk and listen to one another. Civil communication can’t be achieved through social media, email etc. and the only way to change hearts and minds to have conversation, the back and forth dance that humans have been working at forever. We all want to be understood, affirmed and loved. This human trait is not just reserved for one defined class of human or another or one even one political party or another.
Some thoughts on the HB2 repeal-compromise:
This wasn’t the perfect deal or likely the Governor’s preferred solution, but it repeals HB2 and will ultimately open the door to adding protections for LGBT North Carolinians that he believes in strongly but do not currently exist because of HB2.
Make no mistake: this is not the end. We must not quit until we add LGBT protections across North Carolina. But this is a good start. This gives us all a chance to have the conversations that need to be had. It will allow for a policy debate that transcends the rhetoric coming from the extremes of the political spectrum.
It is VERY important to remember that Governor Cooper fought back a horrible referendum - and it is also VERY important to know in these last few days he fought back an Indiana style religious freedom law that would have just replaced one bad law with a law that would have been much worse, despicably so.
This is not the end of our work to make North Carolina better, and we must join the Governor in continuing to press to make our state a more welcoming and fair place.
Right now, there are zero protections for LGBT citizens. That fact is disheartening. But soon, we will be able to add them. With this compromise, the discrimination enshrined in HB2 was wiped off our books and we can now begin working to repair our reputation. And our economy can continue to grow.
With that start, artists, businesses and sporting groups currently boycotting our state can begin to come back and join our fight for equality and justice in North Carolina.
In North Carolina, the MAJORITY of our people are welcoming. They overwhelmingly oppose HB2, but are being harmed by this damaging law anyway.
This compromise will stop the economic damage hurting our families and businesses. It makes progress toward our ultimate goal.
I believe that we must remember that any work toward policy change is long and hard. As I said earlier, we must talk to one another. We need to tell our stories face-to-face, speaking civilly and compassionately with those who disagree with us – or who just appear to be different than us. We must cry with those who are hurting (yes, everyone). We must encourage those who need some light (same).
And we must not turn our backs on our friends and allies who we really know have our common interests in mind as they navigate the world of being a publicly elected official. Then we can celebrate when that long arc of justice is realized.
Let's go find someone to talk to.