On Monday, June 15, I woke to the landmark Supreme Court ruling that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that bars employment discrimination based on sex also applies to people of all gender identities and sexual orientations. This is one of the court’s most significant rulings ever with respect to the civil rights of the LGBTQ community, following their 2015 ruling recognizing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Later that day, I went to pick up a phone repair at Geekhampton here in Sag Harbor and talked with my usual tech guru, Chaim Levin, about the bit of good news this country needed. We spoke again later about him growing up in a strict Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, his subjugation to conversion therapy when he came out as a teen, and his groundbreaking lawsuit that followed. I was reminded in that moment that youth have the power to change the world. Please read his courageous story in Mindful, “Standing Proud”—someone here in our backyard moved a mountain.
There is a deep-rooted sickness in our nation: racism. As a wellness publication, we are committed to do more, and felt it vital to address and offer some ways to educate and examine our conscious (and unconscious) biases, to show different behaviors parents are modeling for our children, and share strong voices in the Black Lives Matter movement, like our cover subject, Don Lemon.
We have the power to change our own behaviors. We are listening, we are learning. But we can’t just talk. We have to find opportunities to be the change—creating change in institutions and within ourselves. I grew up in a school and club system that I never thought of as exclusionary because I was a kid. As a first-generation American, I want to make better choices for my kids so that their eyes are open to what their world is and is not about. Every day is an opportunity to choose action over guilt, honest self-reflection over denial, responsibility over shirking it, understanding over defensiveness. We must choose to be open; my perspective in the world is not the only one nor the only right one—there are millions of others to be open to. We must put fear and laziness aside and be anti-racist and allies. It’s about doing the right thing with kindness at the root of it. This is only the beginning and the bare minimum.
This issue is for Elijah McClain and all the other black victims of police brutality before him and after him.