Contributed by Taylor Jordan
My name is Taylor Jordan and I’m the proud owner of Black Birch Books, your community’s bookstore and a safe gathering place for all. I love and embrace our diverse community in the Mat-Su Valley. I built a small business within its heart and I couldn’t be more honored by your patronage.
By my natural character foundation and my prior military and law-enforcement experience, I’m a warrior. That’s not meant to induce a threat or sound combative, it’s meant to describe a person who will never stand for discrimination or bullying. Someone who will pick up the pieces of their fellow man and help them improve their quality of life.
The mid-February Politics and Opinions page within The People’s Paper had me a little heartbroken. I read an article focused on the part LGBTQ plays within our educational system within our community. I sincerely appreciate the author of the article sharing her perspective and I hope me sharing mine is valued in the same light of “uncompromising truth, knowledge and bravery.”
I’m proud to say I consistently and openly support people of all faiths, races, mental illnesses, criminal backgrounds, addictions and gender or sexual preferences. It’s proven every day in every conversation I have with anyone. Imagine if I wasn’t so brazenly supportive.
Imagine walking into my bookstore with your autistic child and needing a book on child autism. What if I responded by telling you that your child was deformed, an abomination of the genetic code, and something I refused to accommodate in my establishment?... It just made me feel sick, writing that hypothetical. Refusing to serve you would be legal, but would it be ethical? All you needed was help to understand. Anything! Desperation may have led you to me and I would’ve dismissed you. Let me tell you now, I could never.
Imagine a school which didn’t support awareness for some children being different. What if no one ever taught you why the deaf child spoke differently? “Why do they have some adult with them all the time? Are they stupid or something?” In the 1800’s it was determined that deaf people were not competent. Luckily for us, we learned about tolerance, empathy and were educated about people who are deaf in our young school-age years. We didn’t get infected by their disability, did we? It wasn’t a psychological ploy of the deaf agenda, was it? To quote the opinion article, “Parents, I say to you: There is an enemy in the public school…” My response to that is to continue by stating, the enemy is the intolerance and prejudice of adults who may fail to recognize the beauty of different. To quote J. K. Rowling, “Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
We teach crafting and world religion classes at the bookstore with the strict rule, the classes are always educational and never persuasive. I’ve had classes on Paganism, The Church of Latter-Day Saints, Hinduism, the history of modern Christmas, American Sign Language, crochet and I have a ton more to come! These classes are attended by all faiths and walks of life, so they can learn. I’ve only ever had backlash from a few religious extremists within our community. Their opinions were, the education of the devil worshiping religions or faiths not of their personal gods were abominations and sinful. To quote Harper Lee, “Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than whiskey bottle in the hand of another.” To Kill A Mockingbird.
I follow no political agenda. I don’t even have a concern for backlash against my business, because of the parts of our community I see every day. I see wonderful, helpful people who are astounded by generosity and acceptance, who want nothing more than to stay a while in that sort of safe and loving environment.
Short, tall, male, female, whatever you call yourself, handicap, ugly, loud, Catholic or lawyer, I will welcome you and you will feel welcomed. You may even learn a thing or two! To quote E.B. White, “Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.” “You’ve been my friend.” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing.” – Charlotte’s Web.
I value your time and I appreciate you reading my thoughts on paper. I would love to hear your thoughts in the next issue of The Peoples Paper or in person. I would be honored.