Hope—find it, use it

GA Voice - - National Lgbt Pride -

You have strug­gled these past cou­ple of weeks with how to re­act to the Pulse shoot­ings in Or­lando, but how have you in­spired the world to feel about it?

I was re­cently asked to speak at the Coca-Cola head­quar­ters here in At­lanta for a GLAAD event, and ob­vi­ously changed the con­tent of my speech fol­low­ing the events on June 12. I have de­cided to share the script of that speech with you here; de­spite the fact the pas­sion of the speech will be lost in trans­la­tion. How­ever, I think it is im­por­tant for all of us to re­al­ize not only the ef­fect of Or­lando on us but also how we are af­fect­ing others through this tragedy. Hope. I think that is a word that is overused. Hope is a tool you only need when des­per­ate. It’s not an end re­sult; it is the bridge that gets you to that end re­sult. A tool, like a fire ex­tin­guisher col­lect­ing dust un­der the cabi­net or a tire iron lost in the trunk or those jumper ca­bles. You only use these things when des­per­ate. Yet when we do need them we of­ten fum­ble with how ex­actly to use them.

Hope isn’t nec­es­sary when you are feel­ing happy or sat­is­fied. Now is a time for hope, but how will you use it?

I want to switch to Coke. You have cre­ated a brand that is emo­tional. What kind of emo­tion? The good moments in your life, of­ten from child­hood. A Coke and a Smile. The Real Thing. For those old enough to re­mem­ber, I’d like to teach the world to sing—a mes­sage of bring­ing a di­verse world to­gether…in per­fect har­mony.

As the gay com­mu­nity, what is our brand? Hard­ship? Or hope?

The world is wav­ing rain­bow flags this week. World lead­ers like Pres­i­dent Obama and Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu have pub­licly given their sup­port, pub­lic build­ings have been washed in rain­bow col­ors, and straight peo­ple have changed their on­line pro­files to in­clude the rain­bow flag in sol­i­dar­ity. Clos­eted mem­bers of our com­mu­nity have their eyes on us and are watch­ing how we re­spond, so what mes­sage are we send­ing? On so­cial me­dia I have seen the words “de­pressed,” and “fuck you, straight peo­ple, I don’t need your sym­pa­thy.”

I am proud to be gay, and will go into what­ever bar or gather­ing I damn well choose with­out fear be­cause I am hope. I ex­pect the world to em­brace love, ever slowly, more and more. It al­ready has, don’t you see it? Love brings love, hate cre­ates hate.

What brand are you cre­at­ing? Dev­as­ta­tion? Dev­as­ta­tion only breeds more dev­as­ta­tion.

Rage? A lot of us have been an­gry for a long time, haven’t we? What good has it done? Rage only breeds rage.

Re­tal­i­a­tion? Re­tal­i­a­tion will only in­spire more re­tal­i­a­tion.

Take hope out of the cabi­net or trunk… and use it. Even if your hands are shak­ing, find hope and put it to work in build­ing a bridge to hap­pi­ness. The only way to be truly happy is by lov­ing your­self first.

“I am proud to be gay, and will go into what­ever bar or gather­ing I damn well choose with­out fear be­cause I am hope. I ex­pect the world to em­brace love, ever slowly, more and more. It al­ready has, don’t you see it? Love brings love, hate cre­ates hate.”

Melissa Carter is one of the Morn­ing Show hosts on B98.5. In ad­di­tion, she is a writer for the Huff­in­g­ton Post. She is rec­og­nized as one of the first out ra­dio per­son­al­i­ties in At­lanta and one of the few in the coun­try. Fol­low her on Twit­ter@Melis­saCarter

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