Tolerant, Bold, Outspoken: Hannah.
By Tess Allen
When asked about her pet peeve, the small town girl ranted about intolerance.
“It just makes my blood boil,” she said. “How can you judge a person if you’re not living their life?”
Growing up in the small rural town of Brevard, N.C. made Hannah Field, 17, realize how many people are close-minded. Hannah’s father, Robert, is the priest of an Episcopal church that is teeming with conservatism. Hannah knew from the moment she saw homosexual students become victims of venomous ridicule at school that she had to act. She needed a way not to escape intolerance, but to replace it with tolerance.
“In the beginning, I felt overwhelmed by the idea of even trying to act against something so big,” Hannah said. “But I realized that I had to start where I knew how–through writing.”
Fueled by her desire to make a difference, Hannah began working as a columnist for Brevard High School’s online newspaper. She wrote columns on controversial topics such as the unfairness of the SAT and workers’ rights. She usually took a strong liberal stance, which did not sit well with many of her readers.
“There were a few people who agreed with me,” Hannah said. “But most blatantly disagreed and were not afraid to make it known.”
Despite the criticism, Hannah did not back down from her beliefs. When the amendment issue became hot in North Carolina, Hannah wrote a column in support of gay rights. Because of her father’s position within her church, word quickly spread about her column. The congregation could not believe that Hannah’s views were so untraditional. How could she possibly support gay marriage?
Days later, Hannah discovered an envelope in her mailbox that was thick with hatred. Opening it, she discovered a three-page letter, attacking her beliefs and combing through every word of her column with intense criticism. However, Hannah took the criticism in stride: “It made me feel like a real journalist who was being scrutinized for what I said.”
To her great disappointment, Amendment One, which primarily banned gay marriage in N.C., was passed despite Hannah’s effort.
“I guess I really wasn’t surprised,” Hannah said. “But it made me sad that the people of North Carolina could be so intolerant of diversity.”
Following the passing of Amendment One, a group of homosexuals met in the local Unitarian church to mourn the passing of the amendment. Hannah attended the gathering to show her support, and finally, she discovered that her hard work had paid off.
The group thanked her profusely for her column and support.
“It was worth all of the negativity that I faced from others,” Hannah said, beaming as she remembered those who praised her. “I was thankful that even though I had not been able to change the minds of the conservatives in my town, I had been able to reach out to those people.”
“Meeting this group of women made me realize that I was not alone in my fight against intolerance,” Hannah said. She may have a few scars, but Hannah continues standing firm in her fight: “I just can’t give up.”