A Continuing Education on Affecting Change

Amanda Simpson

Just a week ago this was a brand spanking New Year. Not a spot or tarnish on it unless of course it was self-induced by one too many champagne toasts the night before. Resolutions were made: promises to one’s self to be happier, healthier and hopefully wiser (i.e. perhaps one less champagne toast next time around).

I don’t necessarily do resolutions, however I do think about what I hope for in the coming year, where I would like to see myself and what I hope for my family and friends. This year I went bigger. I thought about what I want to see for people I don’t even know, won’t ever know. I started with what I think is a simple concept - unalienable and equal rights for all.

Let’s add to that list an end to racism, LGBT-phobias, actual heath care reform, immigration reform, education reform, the end of big money pharmaceutical companies and working towards a less apathetic society, to name a few. In the immortal words of John Lennon, some may call me a dreamer but I’m not the only one.

President Obama started off the year with some promise as he appointed Amanda Simpson, an actual rocket scientist, as a senior technical advisor in the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security. Her job entails managing exports of dual use technology—that which has both civilian and military capability—to other nations.

I know, sounds cool, right? She’s also transgender.

Unfortunately the Garden State showed less promise as yesterday when it failed to pass - by a vote of 14 to 20, with six senators not voting - a bill sponsored by Sen. Raymond Lesniak aimed at legalizing gay marriage in New Jersey. We go into 2010 with still only five states granting this basic right. It’s a sad statistic that I want to see change this year. But I don’t want to sit on the sidelines. I want to continue to actively address for the injustices I see around me.

2010 has yet to unfold in front of us. Even a week in there’s anticipation and excitement for what it holds and what it still may be. For me, it’s a continued education on how I can affect changes. It’s turning the page on the things I need to leave behind; things that clutter and get in the way, and focus purely on what’s ahead.

What will 2010 be for you?