Monday, May 25, 2009


Don’t ever discount the collective wisdom of the pre-pubescent crowd. Two kids hit the headlines this week in separate, but equally significant incidents.

First, AOL “Parent Dish” writer Bethany Sanders wrote a piece about a Romona, CA sixth grader who learned firsthand about censorship. Reportedly, student Natalie Jones was to deliver a report to her class about the late Harvey Milk,(right) San Francisco’s first gay elected official. Principal Theresa Grace vetoed the idea, claiming it violated the school’s policy about teaching sexual content. Read all about it here.

I couldn’t help wondering what Ms. Grace is trying to protect her young charges from. From the importance of treating all human beings with respect? From a truly significant moment in the history of the state of California? And I couldn’t help thinking how unfortunate it is that Ms. Grace has reduced a true pioneer, Harvey Milk, to nothing more or less than his sexuality. And of course, being the inveterate letter writer that I am, I fired off a letter this morning to Ms. Grace, saying all of the above, and more.

There are 1,066 miles between Ramona, CA and Denver, CO, but apparently the two cities are light years apart. Last week in Denver, a third grader named Ethan McNamee organized a rally for marriage equality. It seems Ethan has gay neighbors who cannot legally marry, and he sees an injustice that needs to be addressed. reports that Ethan says, “Everybody is different in a good way.”

Unlike Bethany’s school, Ethan’s school, Montclair Elementary not only supported his efforts, but notified all of the students’ parents in case they would like to attend or get involved. Some of the other kids even helped plan the rally. Watch this:

And yes, in case you’re wondering, I wrote a letter to Ethan, as well, offering him congratulations for the way beyond his years wisdom and commitment. Maybe you should do the same – Ethan McNamee, c/o Montclair Elementary School, 1151 Newport St., Denver, CO 80220

1 comment:

Joan Eisenstodt said...

BRAVO to Ethan and to his school. What a mensch -- on so many levels. He is empathetic (the new "4-letter" word according to the GOP) and smart; he is willing to be an activist because he cares.
Where are the grown ups who are willing to do more?
From a 'straight but not narrow' Greenberg fan