June 26, 2012

Optimism sparks courage in Ohio teen

Image credit: www.facebook.com/oreo
If you were on Twitter today, you may have seen that Oreos were trending. I clicked on a few links to discover that the #dailytwist was a rainbow filled Oreo in honor June 25 | Pride day.  ABC News went on to report that the cookie and its message first appeared on Facebook sparking an Oreo boycott. How sad that people can be so closed-minded, but they are.

I was surprised in the opposite direction yesterday when I stumbled upon a video posted by a brave young man from Ohio. He had recently won the Ohio District Optimist International Oratorical Contest and at the prompting of his English teacher he recorded his speech and posted it on YouTube.

I got emotional as I watched him because not only is his speech powerful and his delivery authentic, it is also the first openly gay message that I have heard advanced in the organization. I'm proud that the days of don't ask don't tell are coming to an end and I had planned to post the video here today well before I knew anything about the Oreo outrage. Now it is even more appropriate that I send this message to all. I am intolerant of intolerance. We must, as Optimist Club members, as human beings, accept that people are different and that our differences are better celebrated and not feared; accepted and not banned.

Please watch the Ohio finalist as he explains, "How My Optimism Helps Me Overcome Obstacles.

I hope you find his message worth sharing too.

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