Celebrating Pride with a call to come together

For the past few weeks our nation has grappled with major problems focused on our differences — from the differences in how black and brown people are systemically treated in this country, to the differences in how COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people of color. COVID-19 is still ravaging our seniors and residents of nursing homes across the nation. We are still battling a vicious virus that does not discriminate between communities — gay or straight.

Today, however, as we celebrate Pride in the Dallas area, I would like to talk about our commonalities. I would like to acknowledge our similarities and what brings us all together — how we all want the best for our children, how we all want to love freely, how we all want to live our truths, and how we all want to be accepted in our diverse communities and places where we live.

This month we celebrate the pride of the LGBTQ community. We salute their courage to stand together against adversity and their choice to be proud in their convictions on who and how they love. The LGBTQ community teaches us to look beyond differences and celebrate the diversity that includes each of us.

In my lifetime, our LGBTQ communities have indeed come a long way. The culture of America is changing and progress is being made, slowly.

We must continue to push and continue to insist and continue to demand justice and civil rights for all. THIS IS OUR TIME!

Whether we stand up to be heard or kneel down to be recognized, progress will not come without friction.

When you press against the rock of injustice, there will always be friction. When you press against the rock of intolerance, there will always be sparks. And when you press against the rock of bigotry, there will always be fire.

The difference is that there are those who actively work to pour gas on those flames, and there are those who aggressively work to distinguish them, forever.

To our communities of faith, let us continue to pursue love; to our law enforcement community, let us continue to protect the constitutional rights of all of our people, and to our community leaders, let us lead by example. While we examine what has divided us and joyously celebrate what brings us together, let us all remember that, in the United States of America — we all fly the same flag!

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson represents Texas’ 30th Congressional District, and was first elected to Congress in 1992. She was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives, winning her seat in a landslide to become the first black woman to win electoral office from Dallas. She also served three terms in the Texas Senate before being elected to Congress. Congresswoman Johnson is a longtime ally of the LGBTQ community.