One of my dear friends once told me, love without power is weak, but power without love is harsh. This weekend I spoke at an event featuring two individuals who separately and combined showed me the strength of love and power working together.
Al and Jane Nakatani were the parents of three sons. Before the age of 30 all three had died from what Al called "preventable" causes. Glenn and Guy died from HIV/AIDS and Greg was shot and killed following an argument. Yet these two individuals asked not for our pity, but our open hearts. They shared their journey, their wisdom, then allowed us to ask questions. Al talked about how bullying destroys the worth of our youth, causing participation in risky behavior and creating a hopelessness in the spirits of our young people. Both shared some of their most vulnerable moments in words and pictures. I left the event moved by their courage and their passion to make the world safer for our LGBT youth.
Some people you meet and your life is never the same. . . Al and Jane are two of those people for me. I walked away wanting to hug my sons tighter, determined to tell Aiden and Stefen even more how much I love them and are proud of who they are. I also walked away vowing to be a more courageous and compassionate advocate for the LGBT community. Glenn, Greg and Guy I felt you looking down on your parents and feeling their love for you with each word they spoke and each heart they opened. You must be so proud . . . .