I wanted to applaud Sherral Shaw, owner of the Gathering Tree, for taking the initiative as a business owner to recognize the LGBTQ2S+ community with a rainbow bench. A business owner in a small community might feel restrained from speaking up because it could impact their business.
I remember after being part of chalking the rainbow crosswalk three years ago, I had a member of the business community ask me why we were bringing attention to them. When someone is in a minority, it can be hard for them to speak up for their rights for fear of backlash. When I have been on the receiving end, I have resorted to not reacting to unkind comments or smiling awkwardly to avoid conflict. It often becomes the responsibility of those of us who experience more power or privilege to stand up for others who might be experiencing a lack of belonging or discrimination.
Kudos to Sherral for doing her part in such a public way. I long for the day when we won’t need rainbow crosswalks to highlight issues of inequality or discrimination.