The Fight for Equal Rights in the South

DeeDee Kane sits at the small round table in her office and sips coffee out of a mug with the word GLOBES inscribed inside of a colorful spiral. Her black fleece zip up displays the University of Georgia Terry College of Business logo. Under it, she wears a burgundy collard shirt. An orange yoga mat is propped up in the corner of the room for her occasional lunchtime Pilates break from her full time position as the director of admissions for the MBA program. Her short wavy hair is streaked with gray but her face is youthful and warm.

"I remember 2004 better than I remember last year."

On a spring day 12 years ago she sat in her tiny cubicle at MIT on the sixth floor of the Sloan building listening intently to the news.

Oh my God it might not happen. What if it really doesn't happen? Feelings of doubt swarmed her thoughts.

She sat in disbelief as the courts announced their ruling. She read over the thoughtfully written words of Justice Margaret Marshall. "The very nature and purpose of civil mariiage, the court concluded, renders unconstitutional any attempt to ban same-sex couples, as same sex-couples, from entering into civil marriage."

"It was very emotional sitting by myself at my desk crying," she laughs softly as she recalls the day the courts ruled that Massachusetts would become the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Over a decade later marriage equality became the law of the land in every state, but the long road to equal rights was a grueling journey.

Fourteen years of long commutes and hours spent shoveling snowy driveways, DeeDee decided it was time for a change. But relocating from her home state of Massachusetts would come at a cost. The benefits and rights that she once lived with would be stripped away as soon as she crossed the state line.

In 2011, she traded civil rights for quality of life. She packed her bags and journeyed to the South, along with her support system: her mother. (read more...)

In Sickness and In Health

The University of Georgia had always been a dream for Turner Fordham. Both of her parents were alumni and she had grown up cheering for the Georgia Bulldogs between the hedges of Sanford Stadium. College was the fresh start Turner had been waiting for. After enrolling in 2011, she joined the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and became immersed in college life. Over Thanksgiving break of her freshman year, Turner returned home to Tunnel Hill in Dalton, Ga., where she had grown up with her brother, Trent, and her loving parents. Along with a Thanksgiving feast, a visit to the doctor for routine blood work was on the schedule.

After Turner had returned to school, Louis and Donna Fordham drove to Chattanooga to meet with Dr. Manoo Bhakta, the chief of pediatric oncology at TC Thompson Children's Hospital to discuss the results of their daughter's blood test. The Fordham's worst fears were confirmed. The diagnosis: Leukemia. But this was not the first time the Fordhams had received this news. Turner had relapsed. (read more...)

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