I will never forget the first week I moved to Athens, GA to attend UGA. It wasn't my first time in Athens, but it was the first time I really had a chance to see it up close and with the eye of a new resident. I loved so much about my experience as a Georgia Bulldog. But to this day I can remember calling my friends all over the country and sharing a gasp as I told them that many of the fraternities had confederate flags hanging from them.
It's debatable weather or not I grew up in The South. I vote no. Others (namely people not actually familiar with The South...that in my book also does not include Texas...but again I acknowledge this is open for debate) think that Fort Lauderdale, FL, my hometown, is of course southern as it is directional south of the MDL (Mason Dixon Line). I frequently describe my beloved hometown as the love child of Manhattan and Cuba. Damn...I flippin adore it too!
My point is that as I was not raised in The South (my blog, my rules), nor did I frequent The South on a regular basis, I was completely unprepared to see that hate flag flapping and flying everywhere. It just never occurred to me before that first week. It's been a zillion years and I am still a bit in shock.
I've listened to all the debates and rhetoric on this topic over the years. Not just in the last few weeks, but over the last decade. It's just something that has stuck in my craw and I've struggled to let it go. I could never come to terms with any reasoning to see that ridiculous thing flying anywhere. I continue to find it incredibly offensive.
So it should come as no surprise that I cried actual (preppy pink) crocodile tears after staying up on Wednesday night to hear that the South Caroline government got the votes needed to take down that flag! Or that I shed more tears on Thursday as the Governor signed the official bill with nine pens that will be distributed to the nine Charleston families.
Those families will never get their loved ones back. But their lives have done more to move our Nation forward in the past few weeks and have changed so many hearts for good.
Today is such a great day. I don't believe for a skinny minute that nothing changes with the flag's removal. A lot changes. Minds and hearts are changing. And really...that's kind of everything. That's motivation to stop accepting inequality and discrimination. That's the motivation to make policies more fair. That's the motivation to be a little bit kinder.
I can't believe in the last few weeks I've been witness to so many beautiful changes in our Nation. The pro-equality kindness movement is a big deal, America! I can't wait to see where this momentum gets us in the next 30 days...