When I was a child in school, we frequently had guest speakers come present to our classes who were Holocaust survivors. Growing up in a predominately Jewish area, it wasn't that uncommon to know someone with a relative who had in fact survived the Holocaust. (Actually, your father's paternal grandparents were both Holocaust survivors.) The speeches were tailored to our age, of course, but even from a young age we understood the atrocities that had happened -- at least as much as we could. Growing up as part of a Jewish family, the Holocaust felt equal parts real and also unimaginable. It was one of those events we learned about in school, listened to survivors recount horror stories from but something that felt so far away and surreal. No matter how much we heard or learned, it was just too impossible to fully grasp that so much hatred and intolerance could exist to the extent in which it did.
My point is, when you came into this world I was worried about the world that we were bringing you into. I was worried about how I would explain to you how your mother and father could be married but many of our friends and loved ones weren't equal in the eyes of the law. How do you explain to a child why it is illegal to love, why it is illegal to be who you are? I have held on to hope that in your lifetime, we would watch equality trump inequality. It has been my hope that one day you would be reading a history book in social studies class, read of marriage inequality and think of how antiquated and unfathomable it was. It has been my hope that you will close your schoolbooks but keep that awareness alive in your heart while never really being able to understand how humanity can hold so much hatred and ugliness. I want it to be real for you, what people are capable of, but I want it to be something that in your heart you could never imagine happening. I want it to be something so far away that you're never really able to truly grasp it, something that makes you shake your head and say "that's ridiculous. I can't even imagine."
It feels that is how history works. It is packed with events that make us shake our heads and say "I can't even imagine" because we can't even imagine. We can't, in our wildest dreams, imagine a time when human beings were bought and sold like property, when mass genocides of human beings occurred, when segregation and discrimination were an everyday part of life. As your mother, I wanted your heart to understand that the world can be so cruel, but I also wanted you to shake your head with the unbelievable nature of it all. And I was worried -- I still am worried -- that one day I will have to explain to you why love is illegal. Why some people still aren't free. Why some people aren't allowed to be who they are. And, my love, I don't know how to explain that to you because it is something that I don't understand.
Today, a judge in Miami-Dade county overturned a same-sex marriage ban. We don't live in Miami-Dade county, although I was born there, but we do live in the county right above. The fact that equality -- even a little taste of it -- happened to Florida and so close to us, it makes my heart happy in ways you cannot imagine. By the time you read this, I hope you are shaking your head with the inability to imagine a time when all people were not free, when love was illegal, when our loved ones were not able to be married in the eyes of the law. I want you to remember what hatred is capable of, but I want you to have disbelief in your bones that something like this was ever the way things are. Today, my sweet boy, a little piece of freedom came to Florida. Miami-Dade is the second county to overturn a ban that breaks my heart to think about, a ban that makes so little sense to me I don't know how to explain it to you. A ban on love. It's ridiculous, isn't it? It's insane that in a world with so much pain and tragedy, that people have worked together to place a ban on love.
Today I am proud to be a Floridian, which is something I've struggled with a lot lately. I am proud to have been born in Miami-Dade county although it's been two decades since I've last lived there. I am proud to see that we are making strides towards love, towards good, towards freedom. Sometimes it feels like the steps we are taking are too dreadfully small but I have to admit I'm grateful these steps are being taken at all.
If there is something you take away from this, if there is something you walk away from when you read this, I want it to be a lesson on why hatred should never be allowed near a human heart. It's easy to fall apart, to ask ourselves why things like this keep happening, why humankind never learns from our mistakes. I want you to understand love. I want you to cherish love. I want you to celebrate love and understand why it is so important to love. Love is all we have, as people. I want you to understand that who you are is perfect. Who you are is amazing. Who you are is someone that I am so proud of, I can't even put into words. Always love yourself. Always be proud of yourself. I want you to understand that everyone deserves to love and to be loved. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.
I want you to understand that kindness can defeat anger, love can defeat hatred. Perhaps it's a slow battle, an agonizing one that leaves us exhausted and overexerted, but it is a battle worth fighting. We always have to fight on the side of love.