We, Norman Brown and Carolyn Glover, are both teachers by profession and are actively involved in our local community – working on a number of fronts to counter intolerance and celebrate all kinds of diversity. We are also teachers of "tolerance" with our students. Norman is a teacher of children with multiple disabilities, and Carolyn’s daughter, Elizabeth, is a student in his classroom. We think that the presence of three loving, gentle, close friends – a white heterosexual woman, her 10-year-old daughter who has multiple disabilities and is non-verbal (but communicates on a "soul" level), and a black homosexual man who is the beloved teacher of that little girl- will send a strong message that may contradict many prejudices at once.
As the daughter of one of the leaders of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, I grew up in a family that taught me what nonviolent soulforce was all about. I am going to Lynchburg to build bridges of peace in memory of my dear brother who was openly gay who taught me what living joyfully and courageously was all about and on behalf of the countless other people I love from the GLBT community. I want to help dispel the fear that keeps people from getting close to those they view as too different from themselves. Throughout history, people of faith have used "God’s Word" to justify hatred, violence, and intolerance toward many different types of people – people of color, people of different faiths, people with disabilities, homosexuals, etc. It’s time to end the fear and build relationships.
I am going to Lynchburg to hopefully express my deepest concern and belief that youth of all sexual orientations have the joy and chance of loving, being loved, learning, living and growing into tolerant, productive human beings. I am going as an educator of students with multiple diabilities, as a partner with the parents of those students in their education, and as multicultural advisor of a professional educational organization to which I belong to express my belief that all youth have the right to be able to grow up in a society where feeling safe (especially for one’s health and life) is a norm and not a benevolent gift from adults.