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Brava to mburch, this is beautifully put. I am 100% in agreement with you, and I greatly appreciate how thoughtfully you articulated and explained your position, and the history and trajectory of this very important issue. Thank you for sharing your invaluable perspective, especially as someone who grew up where and when you did. Your suggestions for meaningful engagement for a conference are excellent, and directly address the ethical side to this issue.
With all the talk of politics, it is easy to forget that what we are responsible for as individuals and as an organization is not simply whether or not our discourse and behavior is politically correct, but whether or not these are in line with our morals.
Georgia’s proposed legislation is frightening and dangerous, and has the potential to do tremendous harm to women, particularly low-income women, and their families. While it is true that all citizens are entitled to their own views, not all of those views are equally honorable, nor should they all be tolerated, much less endorsed by NSN and its members. No organization (or person, for that matter) is truly neutral, especially one that purports to uphold standards of decency and tolerance, pluralism and acceptance. Tolerance in this case should not extend to the toleration of those who seek to subjugate women and imperil the health and wellbeing of those who are historically disenfranchised and downtrodden. Legislators and voters who threaten the poor and oppressed in the way that those in Georgia intend should receive neither our financial support nor the tacit approbation implied by our presence in the form of an official conference. Under the current circumstances, holding the NSN conference in that state would compromise the organization’s ethics and those of its members. If NSN continues on this so-called path of “neutrality” – which, as Elie Wiesel once rightfully pointed out, serves only to support the oppressor at the expense of the oppressed – I will cancel my membership.