TW: Murder and anti-gay violence, specifically: Rebecca Wight.
Hello world! Welcome to the blogspot of the Week of Action Movement. In this first post I’m going to introduce the movement, expand on the events that led to its creation, and give details about the Week of Action 2012. If you are unsure of what the movement is, why it should interest you, or are looking for details about this year’s Week, I hope to clarify here.
The Week of Action Movement had been building in progress for a few years before it took its present form and was influenced by a number of different events, from my discovery of a woman named Rebecca Wight to a similar event that was held in the spring of 2011. Flash back to this time five years ago, I was extremely unhappy, entirely closeted, and not an activist for anything in any sense of the word. I wanted to do something in support of LGBT people – my desire for activism was triggered earlier that year after watching a film about a gay man who commits suicide – but I was terrified. I didn’t know how to be an activist for LGBT rights without outing myself as gay. At that time, that was out of the question. But even then, I was drawn to LGBT hate crime victims, and that summer, I discovered the story of Rebecca Wight.
Rebecca Wight was a 28-year-old bisexual woman who was killed in an act of anti-gay violence. On May 13, 1988, she and her girlfriend were on a camping trip in the Pennsylvania portion of the Appalachian Trail when they encountered a man who proceeded to stalk and shoot them eight times from afar while they were making love. Her girlfriend survived the attack and went on to write a book about the experience. Rebecca did not – she died at the scene. When I discovered this story, it affected me in ways I could not entirely understand at the time – something about it just seemed so incredibly sad. After becoming invested in her story, I decided I had to do something; I couldn’t just sit in silence anymore. Within the next three months, I had come out and begun to do activist work – both of which I give her credit for.
Fast forward to the spring of 2011. I realized that May 13 would happen to fall on a Friday, the same day Rebecca was killed in 1988, and thought, “I should do something that day.” At the time – keep in mind, this was mere months after I was a victim of an anti-gay assault – I was also losing the will to fight and continue activist work, as it was starting to seem a hopeless cause. I decided to lead what I called a “Rainbow Vigil”, a memorial for Rebecca and five other hate crime victims. That day, I made video tributes and wore six colored ribbons on my arm – each representing a different color of the rainbow flag and a different person – in the hopes that it would rejuvenate my will to fight and remind me that these people are the reason I keep fighting. The Week of Action Movement was built from this event.
The Week of Action Movement
The Week of Action Movement as it stands now is an expansion of the “Rainbow Vigil” I took part in that spring. It is still a mix of a vigil and a statement that pays tribute to the victims of an anti-LGBT society, but instead of a small, quiet memorial for personal reflection, the Week of Action is dedicated to action and change. The purpose of the Week is to remember the past, to change the present, and to hope for the future. As the name would suggest, the movement is a week-long event that centers around action, awareness, and activism, in remembrance of Rebecca Wight and the numerous others who have lost their lives in a world that breeds hate and intolerance. It is my belief that we have a duty to speak out while we remember these people, as their voices were stolen from them and they no longer can. The Week of Action takes place during the first or second week of May every year, with the dates adjusted annually.
My challenge to everyone who takes part in the Week of Action Movement is do something positive for the LGBT community during the Week. Just one thing – though you can certainly do more if you like. Something that makes the world a little better and a little safer for LGBT people in memory of those who lived and died in a world where it was not. What this looks like is entirely up to you – it can be as small or as large of an act as you want it to be. Call someone out on their homophobic or transphobic viewpoints. Reach out to someone and let them know that you are an ally. Write your legislators to change an anti-LGBT law. Spread awareness of the violence that continues to happen today against the most marginalized members of our community. Whatever you feel driven to do for the LGBT community, I challenge you to use this event as an opportunity do it.
2012 Week and Themes
The 2012 Week of Action begins Monday, May 7 and ends Sunday, May 13. This year, each day will be themed with a different color and concept, one for each stripe of the rainbow flag:
Monday , May 7 – Red (life)
Tuesday, May 8 – Orange (healing)
Wednesday, May 9 – Yellow (sunshine)
Thursday, May 10 – Green (nautre)
Friday, May 11 – Blue (serenity / harmony)
Saturday, May 12 – Purple (spirit)
Sunday, May 13 – Rainbow (hope / promise)
What I’m Going to Do
There are sixty-six people that I am going to be remembering specifically during the Week. The above colors will signify all of them; I have assigned each person a color and correlating concept that I felt best expressed who they were as a person. I have chosen to observe each day’s theme through my clothing – a shirt to announce the movement, colored belts with the names for that particular color written across them – in a way that will entice people to ask what I’m doing and why. Each day of the Week, I will write out the stories of the people assigned to that day’s color. A large part of my Week will consist of spreading the word of the event and its purpose, telling the stories of the people I have chosen to highlight, and reinforcing why it is so essential that we act. LGBT people are still dying – still committing suicide, still falling victim to anti-LGBT violence – and my goal is to convince others of the importance of changing this. I will also be documenting here all I find and do for this event.
What You Can Do
Take part however you feel compelled! The movement is whatever makes it mean something to you. What is important is that we want to incite change and are choosing to act. If you are interested in the ideas I have laid out for myself, feel free to use them or modify them as you see fit. If you have an entirely different approach, go for it. Those who take part in the Week of Action are all working toward a common goal however they choose to observe it – the creation of a better society for LGBT people through deliberate action.