I am an ally because of:
- Alex – who is kind and loyal
- David – who is always there to offer support and encouragement, and unconditional love (except for that one night in college when my friend and I called him to help us after we discovered $1.50 pitcher night at a local dive bar and drank more than we should have – but we forgave him.)
- George – a forever friend who is teaching us about determination and resilience as he continues to recuperate from a serious health crisis
- Kelly – who courageously lives her life on her own terms
- Bill – who taught me the importance of saying thank you today to the people who have influenced your life, before time runs out
- Andy – who changes tears of sadness to tears of laughter with what most would consider inappropriate jokes
- Tony – who made me start singing again after a two year silence
- Al – a teacher to many, in and out of his classroom
- Kevin – my confidant and playmate at many childhood family gatherings
- Tom – who fearlessly chased his dream across country and is living large, proving wrong all those who doubted (I never doubted!)
- Dominick – who has helped me become a stronger advocate through his actions and example
- Becky – who encourages me with her creativity and optimism
- Howard – who answered the questions of a naive college undergraduate who was struggling to be a good ally (I hope I’m doing better!)
- Andrew – who brings #deliciouslydisabled to people each and every day
- Joe – who manages to surprise me with Facebook comments just when I need a smile
- Sue – who sang harmony with me for staff birthday sing-alongs at Riverview (which is not along the river, and has no views)
- Amanda – who inspires me with her success at reaching personal milestones
- Sam – who teaches me to be a stronger writer by sharing his experiences with honesty and vulnerability
- Liz – who always makes meetings more fun with her wit and dry sense of humor
I am an ally because everyone deserves to live their lives free from fear, with dignity and respect.
I am an ally because I know what it feels like to be discriminated due to the way you were born, a part you cannot change, the part which makes you uniquely who you are, the part others cannot accept even though you embrace it as your identity.
I am an ally because I was taught to love others as I have been loved, not to hate.
Love is love.
And the world needs more love.