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    Practice Love!

    karenI love Black History Month. Okay, so February is the shortest month of the year. Rather than feeling short-changed, I’ll simply keep this message brief and sweet. Now is the time to celebrate our roots. After all, archeological research places the birthplace of human life on the continent of Africa. So why not acknowledge our shared genetic root! The root of the LGBTQ movement is also found in the Black civil rights struggle in America. Therefore, Black History Month is a time to be heralded by all!

    In every major U.S. city, county, village and town, there are opportunities to explore Black art, theater, comedy, music, dance, and film, as well as rediscovering history-makers, scientists, politicians, feminists, and other movers and shakers of African-American descent. Perhaps we can use February as the time to make sure that we make the effort to embrace some aspect of Black culture. In that way, we can practice love, appreciate our shared heritage, and develop more compassion for our own struggles and those of others around us.

    If love really means never having to say you’re sorry, then love also means that we can take unabashed action to embrace others in the ways that we would like to be embraced. One of the frailties of fighting battles along monolithic lines is that we risk becoming limited in scope. In order to expand our purview and develop a broader perspective on the realm of human rights, it becomes important to take on our own lifelong learning, to draw parallels between our struggles as human beings, and to increase our capacity for love and understanding.

    There exists between us a great divide. On one hand, we want people to fight for our right to marry and to honor the love we share in same-sex unions. On the other hand, we may choose to disregard the rights of others who are not like us and many of these people are of African descent. People of conscience (my take on P.O.C.) know that gay marriage is just one of the myriad of issues that face our beleaguered LGBTQ communities. While we must continue to fight in this arena, it is equally important to practice love in all of our relationships, meaning that we need to continue to challenge racism, classism, sexism, ageism, and misogyny wherever it exists. And if it exists in your heart or mine, we must be willing to do the work we need to do to grow beyond those limitations.

    Dr. Martin Luther King’s many messages were tomes of love. I believe that he was a loving man, a visionary and a prophet who was able to see that our very survival as human beings depends upon embracing one another and expanding our capacity for love. I am choosing to honor February for the month of love that it is. I plan to profess love as often as I can, eat chocolates, continue to distribute Valentine hearts, watch “Desert Hearts” and “High Art” again, and find out more about my Black American heritage, which I hope to share with all of my friends.

    February is the time to practice love!  Join me.

    Karen Williams is a lover. Send her love at karen@sfbaytimes.com.