Saturday, March 29, 2008

Queer youth coordinator weighs in on "psychopathic army killers"

yes...thank you liz...and michaelann for your remarks. i, too, feel a sense of sadness and outrage at your remarks, david. i spend many hours each week with queer youth....queer youth from springfield (springfield, documented as a poor city according to the last census). queer youth who are trying to make it in springfield public schools (where in 2003 and 2004 only 33% of entering freshmen, what of the 67% who didn't make it?). queer youth who are mainly from poor families, and who aren't seeing a whole lot of choices out there for their futures. queer youth of color, who are prime targets for the military recruiters, who are promising them everything 'and the kitchen sink' to sign up (and, are told by recruiters not to worry about "Don' Ask, Don't Tell" ...because recruiters are pulling out all stops).
i can tell you, that these young people are not psychopaths or murders. they are our brothers/sisters, neighbors, they are sensitive and reflective and insightful...they are our future....and, i'll tell you right now...i will fight like hell to tell them the truth about the military, send them to trainings on counter-recruitment, show them films, etc to help them not join...because i know for sure they will be damaged in ways we DO have some idea about. but, david, we are up against a huge and powerful institutional oppressive machine (and, that is where i will target my rage, my work). because, when/if these young people sign up, join, get sent to iraq, or wherever...i will not stop loving them and showing them respect for their incredible struggle. and, i will not call them names that will only do further damage to them, their families, and will ultimately damage all of us. i will walk with them through it all, understanding and holding the complexities at the same time.
holly richardson,
arise member
and co-director of Out Now (springfield's queer youth organization)

No comments: