Activism comes in all shapes and sizes. No matter what our backgrounds or temperaments are, we all have something to contribute to our communities in smallish or large ways. Activism can be a petrifying task, but once a cause enters into our heart it's hard to ignore it. Remember, not all activists are the same. We can all do activism in our own way--the important thing to keep in mind is that we do something.
This month I wanted to take an opportunity to spotlight one of our board members, Eric Roberts. Eric is presently one of the Co-Chairs of FHHRP. Eric was gracious enough to share with me a little about him and his activist efforts.
A little About Eric
"I grew up in East Tennessee on a tobacco farm in the Appalachian Mountains 45 minutes from the best place on Earth, Dolly Parton's Dollywood. I love spending time outdoors more about our world. I have a community garden plot here where I grow a variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers to share with friends. Cooking is also a huge passion of mine. I love to try new recipes and foods. Nothing beats fresh veggies from the garden. My partner, Kent and I moved to Manhattan in 2015 as he is a graduate student getting his PhD in Ecology from K-State. I'm also very passionate about providing people the tools and support to live their best life. I will also never turn down an opportunity to meet and hang out with anyone. I love meeting new people. I believe that each person has such a great story and I love hearing about them."
What advice do you have for loved ones of the LGBTQ+ community?
"Recognize that no one understands our experiences better than we [members of the queer community] do."
Activism is daunting for most people. Why did you decide to become involved with Flint Hills Human Rights Projects? What motivated you to be involved? Was there anything holding you back? If so what gave you the extra ounce of courage?
"When we first moved here we had a bit of a bumpy welcome to Manhattan when a landlord tiptoed around the subject of renting to a gay couple and how it wasn't something they were comfortable with. It definitely put some apprehension into our minds about where we had moved. Then we found out about the work that was going on for the Non-Discrimination ordinance that FHHRP was spearheading. We immediately became members and started attending City Commission meetings in support of the ordinance. I think what finally gave me the courage to want to become further involved was just recognizing there was a need for this organization in this community, and no matter what we end up accomplishing it will matter to someone, somewhere."
What advice do you have for people in the LGBTQ+ community who desire to be involved but aren't sure how?
"The best way to become involved if you aren't sure how is to follow what's happening with an organization you'd like to be involved with, and show up to their events and talk to people. This was TERRIFYING for me at first, but it definitely helped with meeting people and growing my network of contacts in Manhattan."
For ideas on how to get involved click on this link. We're all in this together. Whether our personalities are fierce or gentle, we have much to offer. Feel free to follow us on Facebook to learn of current news and event in Manhattan, Kansas.
Ally tip of the day...
Believe that issues related to oppression are everyone’s concern, not just the concern of those who are the targets of oppression.
About the Author
Sarah Bridges is a board member of FHHRP and an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community. Sarah has a degree in Health Science with an emphasis in Public Health. She is originally from Arizona but calls Manhattan, Kansas her home. In her spare time she enjoys hosting book clubs with her partner, hiking, yoga or painting with her strong little girl.