Tag Archives: Hero of the Week Award

Hero of the Week Award: August 26, Chely Wright

26 Aug

Hero of the Week

This week’s HWA comes with a hearty congratulations to country music star Chely Wright who married her fiancée, Lauren Blitzer, last Saturday, August 20. Wright was the first major country star to come out as LGBT. She did so knowing full well the impact it could have on her career. After years of trying to hide her sexual orientation, including a disastrous affair with the homophobic Brad Paisley, Wright decided in May 2010 to come out publicly. She cited the damage to her personal well-being from all the “lying and hiding” and her growing concern over all the bullying and suicides in the LGBTQ teen community.

She notes the irony of the country music community being so frequently opposed to homosexuality:

The thing that I don’t understand — the thing I find so … hilarious, actually, is the fact that the country music community, fine folk that they are (and that’s not sarcasm), openly supports and encourages things like alcoholism. So … being gay isn’t okay, but being a drunk is?

Since coming out, she has been a vocal LGBT rights activist and an articulate spokesperson for the community.

I hear the word ‘tolerance’—that some people are trying to teach people to be tolerant of gays. I’m not satisfied with that word. I am gay, and I am not seeking to be ‘tolerated’. One tolerates a toothache, rush-hour traffic, an annoying neighbor with a cluttered yard. I am not a negative to be tolerated.

Brava, Chely! Thank you for your bravery in coming out, your honesty in dealing with a hostile community, and your support of the most vulnerable LGBTQ Americans. May you and Lauren have a long and happy life together.

Hero of the Week Award: August 12, Charlie Cavell

12 Aug

Hero of the Week

This week’s hero is a young man who has – at the age of 20 – already committed himself to the cause of social justice. Charlie Cavell, a social work student at Wayne State University in Detroit, isn’t content to wait until he has his degree to start making a difference in the world. Wanting to get involved with the struggling Detroit schools (where he intends his someday children to attend), he ran for a seat on the board of the city’s new charter schools. After winning the seat, he put himself for president (and was elected vice-president).

Charlie has an infectious grin and an astounding energy and enthusiasm. Not content just to work on the schools in his adopted home, he also runs a Facebook initiative, Pay It Forward, the purpose of which is

working every day to partner jobless residents of Detroit with internships at non-profit agencies around town. This helps at 3 different levels! The unemployed person, the non-profit and the new clients the non-profit is now able to serve!

He was recently profiled on NPR for his hard work and lofty goals. A great representative of the Millennial generation, Charlie Cavell is the kind of engaged champion we should hope to see far more often and a fitting recipient of the HWA.

Hero of the Week Award: August 5, Kathleen Sebelius

5 Aug

Hero of the Week

Regular readers of TSM will recall the wonderful report from the Institute of Medicine which recommended that birth control and other women’s health issues be treated as preventive care by insurance providers. This week, Kathleen Sebelius directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to adopt this recommendation. This historic move, following her original request for the investigation which led to the report, earns Sec. Sibelius this week’s HWA.

Brava, Madame Secretary! It is a sad commentary on our times that it takes a strength of conviction to simply do the right thing. In this political climate, however, any stand for women’s rights faces angry shouts from the looniest fringes of Teabaggistan. Everyone who cares about this important issue can support our Hero by making a positive public comment on the new rules during the 60 day comment period. Let us all support this heroic action today!

This week we also have a strong honorable mention for the HWA, shared by two brave U.S. Senators. On Tuesday, Congress passed a tepid, cowardly bill which prevented the country from going into default but took no measures to really address our deficit problem. Recognizing that this bill simply defers real action at a great cost to the needy and the middle class, Senators Jeff Merkley (D – OR) and Bernie Sanders (I – VT) both voted “No” and issued bold statements about their opposition to capitulation to the wealthy in the guise of compromise. Celebrate their stand for America and read Merkley’s and Sanders’ statements today.

Hero of the Week Award: July 28, Margaret Atwood

29 Jul

Hero of the Week

Margaret Atwood has been a personal hero of mine for at least 25 years.  Her outspoken feminist belief that women should be treated equally and their reproductive rights be respected earned her a permanent place in my heart. Now Atwood has taken up the torch to save libraries in Toronto, thus earning her this week’s HWA.

Much to the disdain of Councillor Doug Ford, (idiot at large) Atwood has waged an on-line campaign to save Toronto’s libraries from budget cuts. Her outreach to her Twitter followers was so successful that the respsonse briefly overloaded web servers. The hypocritical and quite foolish Ford said in response to Atwood’s efforts:

Well, good luck to Margaret Atwood, I don’t even know her. If she could walk by me I wouldn’t even have a clue who she is…But she’s not down here, she’s not dealing with the problems, and if she did, tell her to go run in the next election and get democratically elected and we’d be more than happy to sit down and listen to Margaret Atwood.

Sorry Ford, but you are a raging idiot.  You are an elected official. You work for Atwood and the rest of your constituents.  Your job is to listen to the people.  If I did not know better, I would say he is one of the many misogynistic character’s in an Atwood novel. Click here to see the full article.

Brava, Margaret Atwood. You are a treasure for Canada and much beloved here in the States.

Hero of the Week Award: July 15

15 Jul

Hero of the Week

As the world goes to see the final installment in the Harry Potter film series, let us celebrate the wonderful woman who brought us so much joy. This week’s hero is J.K. Rowling.

Rowling is appropriate for celebration on TSM for many reasons. Besides crafting a wonderful series of books that encouraged a generation to read (despite being challenged in libraries across the United States), she used those books to encourage people to be honest, fair, and and true to themselves. Using her magical world, Rowling addressed poverty, oppression, politics (compare the Ministry of Magic to the Bush administration), slavery, and racism.  By showing the noble side of a nerd like Longbottom or the true friendship of an outcast like Luna, she encourages her readers to take a look at their preconceptions and judge people by the depth of their character. In the character of Professor Albus Dumbledore, Rowling also created a wise, compassionate gay role model for LGBTQ youth and their straight peers. Not insignificantly, her work has also inspired those who have voiced her characters to do good works themselves, as characterized by the charitable work of Daniel Radcliffe, the Harry Potter of the screen.

The wonderful Ms. Rowling has not stopped with her books. As a woman who wrote her first book as a single mother living in poverty, she understands the power of the money she now has and is committted to using it for good. In 2000, Rowling established the Volant Charitable Trust, which uses its annual budget of £5.1 million to combat poverty and social inequality. The fund also gives to organisations that aid children, one parent families, and multiple sclerosis research. Rowling said, “I think you have a moral responsibility when you’ve been given far more than you need, to do wise things with it and give intelligently.” She engages in substantial other philanthropic work.

Rowling has also contributed heavily to the British Labour Party, recognizing the dangers of a Tory government. Responding to Prime Minister Cameron’s patronizing plan to give couples that do not divorce a £150 tax credit, she said:

Nobody who has ever experienced the reality of poverty could say “it’s not the money, it’s the message”. When your flat has been broken into, and you cannot afford a locksmith, it is the money. When you are two pence short of a tin of baked beans, and your child is hungry, it is the money. When you find yourself contemplating shoplifting to get nappies, it is the money. If Mr Cameron’s only practical advice to women living in poverty, the sole carers of their children, is “get married, and we’ll give you £150″, he reveals himself to be completely ignorant of their true situation.

Cheers to J.K. Rowling for bringing the world joy with a message, for compassion and giving, for providing a voice for social justice.  Rowling through her actions, deeds, and novels gives the world a moral compass to adhere to and emulate.

Hero of the Week Award: July 8

8 Jul

Hero of the Week

Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe was honored by the Trevor Project for his work in preventing LGBT teen suicides. TSM just recently celebrated Dumbledore during LGBT History Month and it is now such a pleasure to honor Radcliffe with the HWA.  Radcliffe has consistently used his celebrity to help with issues around social justice for the LGBT community.  Upon receiving the award from the Trevor Project, Radcliffe said:

The fact that I’m able to help with something like this makes me very, very proud. It’s a huge honor, and it’s lovely of them to give it to me. I’ll say it again later, but the real heroes are the people who are staffing those call centers and picking up the phones saving lives every single day.

Bravo, Daniel Radcliffe.  We all look forward to the many ways you will continue to contribute to making the world a better place for all.

Hero of the Week Award, July 1

1 Jul

Thank you to Jennifer Lockett for inspiring this story.  While it is true that I typically show great disdain for the state of Texas, home of Rick Perry, there are little gems that are worth celebrating. The Fort Worth school district is making a bold move and expanding their anti-bullying policy to include and protect gender non-conforming and LGBT students, thus earning them the HWA.  Unlike Tennessee, where you are not even allowed to say the word gay, Fort Worth is proving to be a spot of progressive activity in the very bigoted and homophobic south. Let us hope that Fort Worth will be setting the standard for other school districts in Texas.  Click here to see the full article.

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