20 November 2018
Maybe this is a wake-up call for community movements: Apathy in allegiance can lead to an unravelling of core values under pressure. We need to be more than woven together as communities, we actually need to be spliced together so that when faced with a challenge our strength and support of each other is enhanced not unravelled.
Don’t underestimate the success and evolution of change that has taken place in understanding human sexuality in Aotearoa New Zealand communities over the last 30 years.
As a nation we celebrate our democratic values, but we don’t say that all is well in our democracy, in fact we are increasingly valuing those who have a focus on particular injustices that blight our communities.
That we have severe community issues doesn’t automatically demand that we cease to champion other celebratory accomplishments of our evolving nationhood.
Pride is a symbol of listening and learning, accepting and encouraging, affirming and celebrating absolute realities of the human condition.
Pride has become a symbol of ‘we have overcome’, and over the years of watching Hero and Pride grow, I’ve been moved each year by the newcomers to this movement, institutions, businesses, individuals and communities, acknowledging and celebrating a new era, a new journey of inclusion and diversity.
Every day I work in the arena of focusing on unjust solutions that pull our communities apart. Although our nationhood has made many progressive leaps forward over a hundred plus years, we are still on a demanding journey, scratching at the doors of law and policy makers for Treaty justice, penal reform, and poverty on our doorsteps. We should not be distracted from these soul breaking facts of our life as a nation.
But I do believe a great motivator for change is celebrating the ‘overcoming’ that has already taken place.
It seems to me that we have an opportunity that the ‘parade road’ offers, hope and peace. Rather than allowing the uniform identify oppression and deviance, in the light of the thirty five years of growing understanding, support and allegiance shown by uniformed parts of our communities, Police, Defence Forces, Churches and others, can we not focus on the transfiguring values that these organisations are moving to bring across the inclusive breadth of our nationhood. If, after all these years, we carve off those we commission to special roles in our communities, we are likely to put at risk others who have confidence in the stability that those folk bring.
Feeding the current community discomfort of the Pride Boards ‘listening’ decision that has been driven by a legitimate group of justice warriors, a coup has evolved that has angered very supportive Rainbow and straight communities to express sadness and disappointment over what is believed to be a backward step in Board policy making. The full impact of that policy will be tested over the next months as Pride 2019 draws closer.
As the Pride 2019 desired impact states, Auckland Pride 2019 is about connecting people with purpose. Stronger, safer communities are created when people join together around a shared vision – freedom, equality and dignity for all. (Pride 2019 website: Join the Parade)
I look forward to this being the case.
Rev John MacDonald, Head of Mission, Methodist Mission Northern