On February 21st, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib visited the Ruth Ellis Center to hear from LGBTQ youth and local faith leaders.
Rabbi Alana was among the faith leaders who spoke briefly about the importance of LGBTQ youth support and advocacy and had the opportunity to listen to youth describe their experiences and name their fears. Rabbi Alana reflected on the practice of listening in the Detroit Jewish News article, The Religious Practice of Listening, Action on LGBTQ Discrimination.
"Several youth from the center shared their personal experiences of harassment, abuse and discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. They discussed painful challenges with their parents rejecting their identities and leaving them feeling like they had nowhere to turn. They recalled being bullied and attacked at school or in public because of the way they dress or the way they speak. Most importantly, they shared fears about growing up in a world where LGBTQ people are evicted, fired or denied service simply because of who they are.
The question for us, then, comes back to the teachings of the Shema. Are lawmakers in Lansing listening? Are clergy, privileged with access to these stories, outraged into action?"