I accepted a nomination for the NZ LGBTQI Awards too quickly and without thinking it through. My ego took over. I was surprised and flattered that someone thought I was worthy of being nominated and I considered if it would be a good thing for Church in Progress.
There was a hazard light I didn’t notice. The category I was nominated for was originally called ‘Corporate Allies’ which has been changed to ‘Corporate and Social Allies’. Our faith community is not part of the corporate business world. No one gets paid, we don’t own property and we are not interested in making money. We are purely motivated by providing inclusive spaces for people to reconnect with God and with one another.
Church in Progress, following Jesus’ example, do our best to be present with those who are marginalised. Much later after accepting my nomination, I notice that people from the Police and representatives from ‘Fletcher Building’ are in my category. I felt sick.
Thanks to People Against Prisons Aotearoa (PAPA), I’m learning more about the horrors that our trans-siblings endure in prison and how systematic racism within the New Zealand Police leads to a much higher rate of Māori being incarcerated.
In my humble opinion, Fletcher Building is using it’s rainbow concrete mixer to divert attention away from the injustice happening right here in our local community. The sacred land at Ihumātao was confiscated in 1863, Manukau City Council promised to preserve it as green space and through the fiasco of the Special Housing Act legislation it is now owned by Fletcher’s. Fletcher’s plan to build a low-density subdivision with 480 high-price dwellings on this heritage landscape for profit. Even the United Nations have declared that this overrides the basic human rights of indigenous peoples.
After speaking to a friend involved in grassroots work (who had already rejected their nomination) and seeing that others had issues with this award ceremony, it became clear to me that I would have to withdraw my nomination. I’m just embarrassed it has taken me so long to do so.
That being said… I love celebrations! I wish we spent more time expressing gratitude for one another. Thank you to the anonymous person that nominated me.
There are so many amazing people who give their time, talents and resources to lift up the Rainbow Community. Maybe this can serve as a reminder for us to frequently thank these silent heroes for what they do and to finding more ways to support their work?