The struggle for equality, whether based on sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or economics, has been part of the human experience for thousands of years. Those of us who have supported the rights of LGBTQ individuals have seen remarkable progress over the last several years. Gay, lesbian, and transgender lawmakers serve at nearly every level of state, local, and federal government. LGBTQ individuals are featured in films, in concert halls, and at athletic venues. We can celebrate this progress.
WE EXTEND OUR SYMPATHY…
It is with great sadness that we inform you that Deborah Anne Elliott passed away on January 25, 2021 at the age of 65. Deb was Yolanda Elliott's sister and had been battling multiple sclerosis for many years. Deb served as Kinship's accountant at one point and through the years she was always supportive of Yolanda as she served in her many Kinship roles, including currently serving as President. Deb lived in the home with Yolanda who spent many hours each day lovingly taking care of her sister.
“Learning” is an interesting and complex process. All living creatures learn as they grow and mature. If you think about that process, it’s easy to recall watching your pets learn to find food, chase toys, or hide from you when you are looking for them. Also think about yourself or your children as you learned to walk, talk, play, read, and even think and make decisions.
When so many people around the world had such an atrocious 2020, it’s a bit daunting to come up with an inspiring New Year’s message for my Kinship family. Not one place on this globe has been unaffected by the pandemic, much less the all-too-common bigotry and hate. The last year makes us wonder and think of the song, “Where is the Love?” by the Black-Eyed Peas. Listen to the song here. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpYeekQkAdc&ab_channel=BlackEyedPeasVEVO] To read the lyrics, click on this link. [https://genius.com/Black-eyed-peas-where-is-the-love-lyrics]
As we move into the holiday season at the end of this very difficult and stressful year, I am thankful. I am thankful for all of you who have been part of SDA Kinship's 40-year journey. So many members, friends and allies have been part of the Kinship community during these four decades. You have made it possible for Kinship to provide its message of acceptance and love to many, many people all over the world. As someone who was part of the organizing meeting in September, 1980, I am in awe that Kinship has continued to provide knowledge and support to our Adventist LGBTQ community and its allies. It was only possible because of the many, many people, both alive and gone, who have been part of this effort.
Many LGBTQ+ folks have celebrated their successful “coming out” to friends and their families. It’s probably a process and event they had thought about and worked on for many months and years. Hopefully, they had created a network of friends and other LGBTQ+ folks that helped them - even coached them - on the scary but desired event. Their understanding and supporting friends were valuable allies for that major and probably emotional time.
The loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg made the last few weeks tough, not just for the women of the United States, but for all of us. Justice Ginsberg was an extremely thoughtful and intelligent presence on the Supreme Court who expanded the civil rights of women in the United States, promoted the equality of men and women, and conducted herself with grace and determination on the highest court in the land. Her legacy will live on in spite of a concerted effort to undermine her efforts. I appreciate what she has done for women and, as a woman not married to a man, I could not have independently owned a home and business if it were not for her work as a civil rights lawyer, judge, and Supreme Court justice.
Our monthly roundtable discussions are beginning to connect and, hopefully, provide a beneficial and personal time to meet and share around the Kinship world. Each discussion has increased in attendance and participation, thanks to all of you all who have joined us.
When 2020 began, who could have ever imagined just where we’d be by July? With the global pandemic, our lives have taken quite a turn. While the effects of COVID-19 have been horrific all around the world, the infection rate has worsened in my country. Without clear and decisive leadership using actual science and making sure every citizen has access to personal protective equipment and accurate testing, there is very little chance that the infection rate will slow down any time soon.
These last several months in the United States where I live have been extremely stressful for everyone. Quarantining has brought out the best in some people and the worst in many. Incidents of domestic violence have increased significantly as most people have been asked to stay at home. And not only have millions of people lost their jobs, but the number of people who’ve died from COVID-19 in my country has surpassed 100,500.