Bucky. June 5, 2012. Photo by Callen Harty.
Here I am in the middle of the night, in the middle of the dark.
I cannot sleep because my dreams were crushed and recycled as a nightmare.
Still I know I must eventually rest and I know I will awaken in the light of a new day.
My heart and soul are heavy at this moment. But I also know it is just a moment, a nanosecond in the timeline of humanity. I examine myself and what gives my life purpose, and it is this: I am a minister without a religion, and I am moved by some kind of spirit to dedicate myself to the work of social justice.
Because there is such greed in the world the battle for economic justice is a never-ending battle. Because there is so much hatred in the world the battle for social justice is a never-ending battle. But there is as much love and compassion, empathy and goodness, generosity and kindness as there is of the darker parts of our humanity. In fact, there is more. Positive energy breeds more energy. Love brings greater love when it is given.
I have seen incredible light in the past year, in all the friends, neighbors, and strangers who have joined the struggle for justice for all. And yes, they are disheartened tonight. I am disheartened tonight. But in the morning the sun will rise and all of those beautiful people will still have that love and compassion in their hearts. It needs a place to go.
So we will rise with the sun and continue the work of uncovering truth, shining light into the darkness, and moving our world forward a millionth of an inch at a time, a fraction of a second at a time.
I cannot give up now. This is the work that moves me. This is the work that gives my life meaning. This is the work that eases the pain of the poor and disenfranchised. Without it, without love, nothing has meaning. I will not sink into despair. I will not sink into hatred. I will offer more love and light and the world will be a better place for it.
Peace, brothers and sisters. Rest for a moment, and then let’s continue what we’ve started. We have work to do.
About Callen Harty
Originally from Shullsburg, Wisconsin Callen Harty is the author of four books and numerous published essays, poems, and articles. His most recent book is The Stronger Pull, a memoir about coming out in a small town in Wisconsin. His first book was My Queer Life, a compilation of over 30 years worth of writing on living life as a queer man. It includes essays, poems, speeches, monologues, and more. Empty Playground: A Survivor's Story, is a memoir about surviving childhood sex abuse. His play, Invisible Boy, is a narrative with poetic elements and is also an autobiographical look as surviving child sex abuse. All are available on Amazon.com (and three of them on Kindle) or can be ordered through local bookstores,
He has written almost two dozen plays and 50 monologues that have been produced. Most of them have been produced at Broom Street Theater in Madison, Wisconsin where he started as an actor, writer, and director in 1983. He served as the Artistic Director of the theater from 2005-2010. Monologues he wrote for the Wisconsin Veterans’ Museum won him awards from the Wisconsin Historical Society and the American Association of State and Local History.
He has also had essays, poems, and articles published in newspapers and magazines around the country and has taken the top prize in several photo contests. His writing has appeared in Out!, James White Review, Scott Stamp Monthly, Wisconsin State Journal, and elsewhere. He has had several essays published online for Forward Seeking, Life After Hate, and The Progressive.
Callen has also been a community activist for many years. He was the co-founder of Young People Caring, UW-Madison’s 10% Society, and Proud Theater. He served as the first President of Young People Caring and as the Artistic Director for Proud Theater for its first five years. He is still an adult mentor for the group. In 2003 he won OutReach’s Man of the Year award for his queer community activism. OutReach is Madison, Wisconsin’s lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community center. He also won a Community Shares of Wisconsin Backyard Hero award for his sex abuse survivor activism work. He has been invited to speak before many community groups, at a roundtable on queer community theater in New York City, and has emceed several events. In 2016, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault named him their annual Courage Award winner for his activism, writing, and speaking on sexual assault.
I’ve run into several people who cannot understand what happened in Wisconsin, what went wrong and how they feel so down and out about it. I simply tell them “don’t take it personally, and just work hard to see that it doesn’t happen here”.
Callen, Couldn’t agree more. A lady from Indiana suggested that this is a time to refocus politically. She reasons that the Republicans have focused heavily on states and that prigessives should do the. Obama has elected to wage a big money campaign. I think Wisconsin progressives may want to continue waging a people first campaign and making our priority Wisconsin First. Let the Obama campaign look out for itself as he let us do. Focus our energy and effort on electing a progressive Assembly and State Senate. (actually, I am almost convinced that this would be the most helpful thing we could do for the Obama campaign too).