I attended a vigil last Thursday, the day before Matthew Shepard’s ashes were interred at the National Cathedral. Matthew was murdered in a hate crime 20 years ago because he was gay. Here in the USA, we suffered several tragedies in the last week, and so I am inspired to write of the importance of taking a stand together against hate, intolerance, and violence.
I joined several friends to walk over to DuPont Circle in Washington, DC, where the vigil was taking place. It was important for me to go with others. I think unification is of great value. When violence takes place it generates fear, and one of the antidotes to this alarm is to join with others who share a dedication to the same values. On the way over we enjoyed each other’s company and experienced the camaraderie of being brought together by a common commitment to standing against this kind of destructive terror. It made it easier for me. But, I also appreciate the need to support each other in organizing the appropriate response, whether it is comforting families and loved ones, advocating for policy change, or making visible the resistance to intimidation.
In the picture above you will see the Rev Gene Robinson, the 1st openly gay Bishop in the Episcopal Church. He addressed the crowd with his leadership, warmth, and encouragement. There were two songs by the Gay Men’s Chorus, which were beautiful, including their signature, Make Them Hear You. Many others spoke and sang. It was a blessed event. In the aftermath of violence, there are many appropriate responses. One of them is joining forces to take a stand against barbarity.
“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”
– Muhammad Ali