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November 2020 Issue [Readings]

Whine On You Crazy Diamond

From remarks made in July by Russ Diamond, a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

I feel that I must personally respond to the incidents of hate and intolerance that have been directed at me on social media. While these individuals may think they are simply expressing their displeasure with me, they are in fact hurting thousands of unmasked Pennsylvanians. Your actions perpetuate discrimination against unmasked individuals like myself.

One month ago, the Department of Health promulgated a mask policy that specifically included exemptions for medical conditions. But unmasked individuals are still being denied access to public accommodations in places not honoring those exemptions. The most vulnerable among us continue to suffer, including unmasked individuals of color, unmasked youth and seniors, and unmasked immigrants. We have not made progress unless we have all made progress. It is in this space that these acts of intolerance live and where we need to continue to work against discrimination.

To the perpetrators of these actions, if your apologies are sincerely given, then I accept. But an apology is the beginning, not the end of the conversation. I call on you, and all Pennsylvanians, to work toward a spirit of acceptance and welcoming of unmasked individuals. We all need to foster that spirit and celebrate the wonderful diversity of our commonwealth. To all unmasked young people, it is okay to be you. It is okay to stand up for your rights and your freedoms. I have no room in my heart for hatred, and frankly I do not have time for intolerance.

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November 2020

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