I decided to leave Forward Equality and most progressive grassroots organizing in Nebraska because I need to focus on my own well-being. Forward Equality has been a project of mine for about four years. Several friends and I formed Forward Equality in 2010 to work on progressive issues, at the time mostly queer issues. However, in the past couple of years moved to be focused on a variety of progressive issues.
Making the decision to leave Forward Equality and conclude all Forward Equality operations was very difficult for me. I personally invested a lot of my time and energy into Forward Equality and the progressive issues. Many of the issues were very personal for me.
For instance, I am very passionate about healthcare being a universal human right because I personally know that continuous treatment for chronic medical conditions saves lives and so does preventive healthcare services. I am also very passionate about workers’ rights and a living wage because I have seen firsthand how poverty hurts children and families. Not to forget how discrimination, harassment, and bullying affects all humans especially youth and how it is literally killing our youth.
In addition, it is difficult for me to leave Forward Equality and the progressive community in Nebraska because Nebraska is my birthplace. I grew up there. I don’t want to give up on making Nebraska a safe and welcoming place. I don’t want to let Nebraska continue to be a place that I feel shameful to be from. I want to someday be proud of coming from Nebraska.
All of these progressive issues are so important to me, I cannot even use words to express how it feels to have worked on them for so long and then need to move on. However, after some discussions with my support network and healthcare team, I decided to conclude all of my progressive grassroots organizing in Nebraska.
In these discussions, I also had to decide if I wanted to disclose why this is needed. I am still not sure the answer to that or if there is a right or wrong answer. Therefore, I will say this; Nebraska in general contains a lot of painful and hurtful events and statements. This includes many of the attitudes and lack of inclusion I faced there while organizing around many of the progressive issues I cared greatly about. Overall, some of what happened there and what was said was harmful to my health. Nevertheless, there was still a lot of empowering and awesome events and statements that helped me learn and grow.
From April of this year on, I will be moving forward and working on those progressive issues that do not hurt my well-being. Thus, I will focus my progressive grassroots organizing in Iowa and I will only exert the physical and emotional energy that is within my ability.