By Candace Hardnett
As Black History Month comes to an end and we continue to reflect on our many achievements as a people, it is crucial that we ask ourselves where we go from here. What kind of community should we be so inclined to create? As a Christian pastor, the answer for me is clear.
My faith demands that I teach and preach unconditional love. Christ taught that the greatest commandment is to love God and that we must also love one another. Our future as a people is a community that seeks to nurture our young black men and women, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. It is finding joy and laughter in our shared humanity -- not making fun of our LGBT brothers and sisters because of who they are and who they love. Finally, it is spreading compassion and understanding from our pulpits. This is our future. We owe it to ourselves.
Hatred has no place in our homes, in our schools, in our churches or on our streets. If we want to build strong communities we must not leave any thread of that community on the outside. If we continue to ignore, exclude, and marginalize the black LGBT community, we are dividing ourselves which in turn makes us weaker. In order to realize the full potential of our communities it requires that we work cohesively as a unit.
As Christ taught, a house divided cannot stand. If we want to progress then we must do so as a unit, not excluding any of our members, but with one kindred heart, loving one another until we realize full equality for all.
- Candace Hardnett
Candace E. Hardnett is a local pastor and activist. She served her country as a United States Marine directly following 9/11. The wisdom, experience and discipline that she gained from the Corps carries forward into every facet of her life. She and her partner founded Agape Empowerment Ministries in 2009 and she serves as the senior pastor. She currently serves as co-chair of First City Network, Georgia's oldest GLBT organization.