Guest Opinions

Sage students’ message: Idaho needs equality, diversity and openness now. Help us get it.

Rainbow signs hang in Boise before last year’s Boise Pride Fest.
Rainbow signs hang in Boise before last year’s Boise Pride Fest.

Humans crave power and they’re scared to lose it. They think if they share it, they are going to lose it. No one wants to be at the bottom of the barrel, neglected or left behind. This has been the case throughout our history. Columbus set foot on the Caribbean islands and found foreign cultures. He didn’t embrace diversity. He didn’t want to share power and he was determined not to lose it. During the slave trade, Europeans found people who looked different and they stripped them of their humanity. These are our beginnings, and this legacy of oppression lives on.

Hatred seems to show up in many ways that are often overlooked. It’s easy to brush things off by saying these things live in the past. But discrimination is happening all around us, every day, in unimaginable ways. During the effort to add protections to our LGBTQ community in the Idaho Legislature, there was a “No Gays Allowed” sign placed in the window of a Boise restaurant. While racial violence gets worse, a sticker on the back of an Idaho truck this year read, “Of Course Black Lives Matter, It’s Football Season.” We need to drop the idea that something is “gay” or that it’s “time to act like a lady.” We need to understand that our language and our actions have consequences.

Hatred seems to have a way of living under wraps until it bubbles over, and we watch it and wonder, “Why is this happening?”

Justice will come once we open our minds as well as our hearts. Once we do that, we can discard the idea of “the other” and begin to look at “us.” We don’t know about you, but we believe that this is the time for empathy. It is the time for love. It is the time for ALL OF US.

For those adults reading this, we want you to acknowledge what we are saying. As students, we don’t always get the chance to have a voice, so we are using this opportunity to ask you to use yours.

We want a world that is equal, diverse, nonviolent, loving, kind and welcoming. We want a world where we have solved our greatest problems instead of creating more. We can’t solve anything if we don’t acknowledge it first, and we can’t build a better world on our own. We are the future, you are the present, and we need you now, not later.

These student writers attend The Sage School in Hailey. This project is part of student activist training offered by United Vision for Idaho.