The holiday season is a time to remember your friends, family, and the meaning of giving (and receiving too, technically). With the local soft rock radio stations blasting holiday music and malls (and internet shops) across America revving up for Black Friday and the Winter shopping frenzy, it’s easy to get more involved in consumerism than say, the birth of Jesus, festival of lights, African-American heritage, or the winter festivals.
That being said, I’d like to make a proposition. During the times that you are purchasing presents, hanging out with your friends and family, and celebrating life and the new year with your community, take a minute to think about all the blessings (in a secular sense) you’ve had all year long. Did a stranger stop in his steps to help you out? Did you Mom save your ass one more time? Maybe your siblings took time out of their schedules to help you fix something you mishandled. Either way, stop and think about all the kindness that has surrounded you.
Then take another minute and think about those who have lost their lives for a bitter cause, whether it be due to illness, war, or violence. I bring up this proposition because the welfare of fellow human beings is truly important to me.
This Sunday, November 20, marks the 13th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, which memorializes those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. In 1998, Rita Hester, a transgender African-American woman, was stabbed to death in her apartment. Her case remains unsolved. Because of this brutal murder, Gwendolyn Ann Smith founded this day to remember and reflect on actions like these.
In a time when hatred is the norm, Occupy movements are dividing communities, and violence in media seems to be a standard, it is important to educate non-transgender people about this rich piece of American history. This is a day that celebrates humankind’s ability love and respect one another despite our differences.