Chelsea was the president of my sorority my first semester at college and has an incredibly unique way of capturing an audience and commanding the attention of everyone in the room. She’s taken The Passion Project to a new level tonight by addressing a very important issue, equality. I agree 100% with everything in her post and it is so great to have it broadcasted on the blog. I hope it makes everyone think and really want to make a difference. You can continue to follow Chelsea on her blog http://cmbohannon.tumblr.com
A native of Georgia, many of my beliefs early on in life were shaped from circumstance and demographics, unfortunately. I’ve always been proud to be from Georgia; to be Southern, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized many of my views contradict those of my predominantly conservative state. It’s funny that I came to this realization when I moved farther south to Auburn, Ala., and questionably even more right-winged than my neighbor home to the east. Believing in women’s rights, marriage equality and civil rights is sometimes shoved under the rug to collect dust. But as my Nana always taught me—a clean house is a reflection of a woman and family, so ridding of the dust, I must.
While studying at Auburn University, I decided to take a course on women’s studies. At the time, I needed an extra elective and thought the course would be a breeze, even though I was fearful that the professor might make me take off my bra, whirl it in the air and yell that I was a feminist. That part scared me and of course, reflected my ignorance. To my delight, it wasn’t anything like I had expected. Funny most things in life end up that way, huh? So, freshman Chelsea dove headfirst into learning about stereotypes, the Red Queen Syndrome, breaking the glass ceiling and understanding the value I have as a person, as a woman. It was a memorable semester that sparked my interest to continue on the following year in a women and leadership course where I immersed myself deeper in the rights and equality of women. After reading Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In,” it was even more clear to me the issues that lit my fire. It also became clear to me that God granted me a mind to seek knowledge and solve problems, a voice to speak of these issues and two feet to hit the ground running to figure it all out.
However, my interest in equality didn’t stop there and is by no means limited to just the rights of women. It saddens me that in some parts of the world unbeknownst to me, “civil rights” is just synonymous to humanity. What a poor society we live in that we have to discuss the freedoms of God’s people because they are diverse. Although some people deny this is the case, much of our nation, specifically the South, still sees the world in black and white. A discussion recently with an African-American man about racial slurs he still experiences as a respected, educated and profitable businessman made me furious. Are we that ignorant that we can discriminate against someone based on the color of his or her skin— white against black, and black against white? This is 2014, not the 1960s. Men, women, black, white, purple, blue and yellow— we deserve equality and yet again, the dust is still settling under the rug.
The best, most contradicting and hypocritical part of this all, you should ask? Racism, as I’ve experienced it, is still predominantly catered to in the South, yet this part of the country consists of some of the most God loving and fearing of them all. For years this has baffled me. How is it that the same people who profess to live a life in the name of the Lord also spit evil at those different? It makes me wonder if their beliefs are even that true to begin with. I hope it makes you ask yourself the same question.
In the same regard, prejudices against those seeking marriage equality rocked the boat quite hard recently. As a heterosexual woman believing that my marriage will consist one man and one woman, it makes no difference to me if two people of the same sex are granted marriage. It doesn’t inflict harm upon me and for those basing their arguments on same-sex marriage setting a “bad” example for their children— remembering that it is up to parents to teach their children the “right” ways of the world should eliminate this all together. Two people of the same sex being granted to share a life together and live in happiness just like I am granted doesn’t affect me in the slightest bit. People are afraid of change and unwilling to see past the diversity.
Equality, for me, as you can see is one thing I’m passionate about. From women receiving the same opportunities as their male counterparts; to color of skin not being considered in any aspect of life; to marriage equality for all. As much as I want to believe that we are taking steps forward, I can feel us gravitate backwards because of selfish, ill-informed, hypocritical idiots of the world. My hope is that each of us gains the power and courage to make proclamations of our own— to not settle for beliefs based on our parents, circumstance and what’s popular amongst the majority. I know my generation has the ability to stare prejudice in the face and let it know it is no longer welcome, and if you feel the same, I encourage you to make a stand too.
“Every generation has the obligation to free men’s minds for a look at new worlds; to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation.”
– Ellison S. Onizuka
22 years old
January 26, 2014