Before I read the letter to the editor submitted by Annie Bowen on Nov. 14 (published in the Nov. 23 Gazette-Times), I had been thinking about and talking to every group of people I associate with about many points she made in that letter. I simply do not possess the ability to express my thoughts with her eloquence and soul-searching honesty. In the event you have recycled your copy of that day's newspaper, I am going to repeat a portion of the letter:
“Can we ever fully understand what it means to be a person of color, a person with disabilities, a homeless person, a transgender person, an immigrant or anyone who is ‘different’? ... What I have come to understand is my responsibility to respect the beliefs and values of all people. To actively question my own beliefs and experiences and seek out the dark areas inside myself where my own biases hide. Most importantly, I have learned to listen to the experiences of others, those different from myself and not judge those experiences based upon my own values and beliefs.”
Until we start this process, we will not begin to be fully aware of or begin to solve the issues that hold our society back, issues of racism, immigration, gender, homelessness, mental illness, or inequity. If you have Annie Bowen’s letter, cut it out and put it where you can read it often. Because saving our nation depends on individuals caring enough to self-examine and to rank equality for all at the top of our list.
Corvallis (Nov. 24)