Human Rights Campaign Gala through the Eyes of Culver Student
March 15, 2018
Mailee Johnson age 11
Culver City Middle School
Kids Scoop Media
On Saturday, March 10th, the HRC-Los Angeles (Human Rights Campaign), held their yearly gala. I attended, hoping to meet some of the great people who are a part of the LGBT+ community, or support it.
HRC is America's largest organization working for equality. Their vision is a fair and equal world starting with the basics of daily life- family, work and the community. There are over 2 million members and supporters who work very hard to make equality a reality. Their goals are to fight threats to equality, ensuring equal health care, encouraging companies to be fair and equal to all employees, and reduce bullying in our schools.
Even though I was the smallest and last person on the blue carpet, I was able to talk to some great people. They were very positive and had great advice for kids. I asked all of them the same two questions. The first question was "After what happened in Florida, do you think kids have a voice now, or did kids always have a voice but it was kept silent?" and the second question was "How will you inspire other kids to come out or say what they want to say about certain topics?".
Jessica Bair- Co-Chair HRC Rise Dinner
"Children always have a voice. I have 4 children. I had to wait to vote until I was 18. We all have the right to design our lives to make a difference. Find people who love you for who you are. Find adults who love and support. It is okay to share their truth."
Joshua Rush- one of the stars of Disney's Andi Mack.
"I think kids have always had a voice, but I think kids are really finding their voices now. It is really exciting to see these kids through this absolute unimaginable tragedy in Parkland and finding their own voices and being proud of who they are. It is exciting to see and heartening to see. I think when kids see Cyrus they are getting a chance to see that in themselves. The more kids who see that as themselves, the more chance that they have to be more comfortable in who they are. I am really proud. It is amazing to play this character and I am excited to see where it takes us."
DJ Young 1-
"Kids always have had a voice. For the kids of America- if we have something to say, we say it".
Portugal. The Man-
"Children are our future. That's the people who are standing up against powerful organizations. The whole notion behind our song is believing in something, using your voice for something. For us we support a number of human causes but ultimately be a good person. Be a good person in your community. Do something to make the world a better place every day. It's not that hard."
Stephanie Beatriz- Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Ever since I was very very young, I would say probably 10 or 11, I had lots of strong opinions and feelings about my government, my own sexuality, and the world I was living in. I think that I was really lucky that I had parents who supported that. Not everyone is that lucky but I think with the advent of social media kids can see that even if they don't have those supportive foundations around them that other people are speaking and so they can and deserve to too. The best way I can do it is to be vocal about my own queerness and who I am and show them that look I have a career and I am an actress on a comedy network tv show. Maybe that means to a kid that no matter who you are or how you identify you get to have a happy life and be yourself. Whatever it is that you want to do, you deserve it, it is waiting for you- go get it!".
Jeffrey Bowman Chapman- Unreal
"I think that the youth have always been the ones with the clearest voice because they have not been jaded by the outside world. They can see the truth for what it is, and they haven't been influenced by money or power or corruption- they know what the right thing is. They know that their instincts tell them to do it. I think it is extraordinary that the students at Parkland are standing up and using their voices in such a powerful way. It is necessary and may be the only thing that can bring change in this crazy dark political time. When you live in celebration of yourself and when you walk through the world in a very authentic place, that is when the world pays attention. That is when people are drawn to you and want to listen to what you have to say. When you start operating from that place, of authenticity, from the moment you wake up to the time you go to bed, you will notice a difference in the interactions with your siblings, your parents, your teachers, your principal, whoever it is. Speak up, be yourself, come from a place of kindness and love and the world will respond."
After that night, I saw how much of a difference one person could make. It wouldn't matter the topic, but if you spoke up, and said what you wanted to say, you could do something to change anything. In your community, your school, even your household. From that, I learned it doesn't matter who I am. But it matters if I want change and what I'll do to get that change.