I’m often asked why I’m interested in Human Rights, why I have dedicated and continue to dedicate my life to fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves; to speaking up for those without a voice.
I do it for Tyler Clementi and Asher Brown. Two gay teenagers who killed themselves this week after being tormented by their peers because they were gay.
I do it for Dolma Ismail and Amina Ishaq, two out of over 400,000 people killed during the state-orchestrated genocide in Darfur.
I do it because in 2010, people who are gay, Aboriginals, Muslims, Jews and the disabled are still looked down on because of who they are. Because Aboriginals are treated like they’re all violent, drunk and helpless, because gays are treated like they’re disease-ridden deviants and because Muslims are treated like they’re terrorists.
This past week, with the string of high-profile suicides of gay teens in the US, has been a wakeup call for me. How are we letting this happen to our children? How is our “modern” Western society so backwards that we can drive children to kill themselves for something as insignificant as who they love?
There are so many problems in the world today and too many people in North America are content to just close their eyes, plug their ears and pretend that it doesn’t affect them, or worse, claim that it isn’t their problem.
Elie Wiesel once said;
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of beauty is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, but indifference between life and death.
I am not content to sit back. I never have been prepared to just ignore what is going on around me. My pledge; I will never be indifferent.