A little after 6PM at New York’s Grand Central Terminal a whistle sounded three times. After the third cry dozens of bodies slowly collapsed to the ground.
6PM on a Friday night in Grand Central Terminal is sort of a mash up of many things. It’s a tourist stop and Friday is the day they all come to NYC. It’s right after the work day when the trains to Westchester County and Fairfield County stop running express and drag on forever on the local schedule. It’s where business men and women stop for drinks before heading home, it’s where brides and grooms take pictures after their NYC weddings. On October 8, 2010, it let those busy, bustling people see the effects of homophobia.
The fact is that Homophobia Kills. It kills in a very real sense, the names of people we’ve lost due to homophobia were said aloud for all of those present could hear their names. Homophobia also kills the soul. When a gay youth is told that they are worthless, they are sinners, they are ugly, they are inhuman and they have no outlet or resource to give comfort their soul dies. Just as a child should never be told they are stupid, no gay person should ever discount their worth.
When people turn a blind eye to hateful words and ugly deeds, Homophobia Kills. It was to be expected that hurried New Yorkers would walk over the bodies. We were occupying one of the busiest spaces on the entire island, but the not seeing of the New Yorkers trying to make their trains, the lack of compassion to even stop and ask, the desire to not see the death around them was eye-opening and it’s more than just a metaphor it is reality. People hear and see acts of violence done to LGBTQ people and instead of lending a hand, they walk away.
Tikkun Olam is Hebrew for repairing the world. It is our duty, as Jews, to participate in the repair of the world on every level. We grow up in a Christian society that spouts sayings like, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” but its loaded and rattled with inequalities. Our society as always put some one, some class, some minority aside or down to lift another up. We cannot sit idly by and watch this continue to happen. I urge you, no I implore you to do what you can to repair the world.
I often wonder what happened to the Civil Rights activists of the 60s and 70s, did they not teach their children to act up? Why aren’t some of us, folks in our late 20s and 30s, children of these activists more active? When they saw the world around them filled with injustice and inequality they marched, we hop online. Personally, I always say but rarely do.
Yesterday was my birthday and I felt alive watching the dead bodies lie in Grand Central Terminal. I felt moved in a way I haven’t felt in a long time. I was inspired and I was angry but the thing that I realized is that I should only be angry with myself for not moving, talking, acting sooner and found inspiration in those who gave their lives, unwillingly, to the cause.