When I was the Director of the Human Rights Campaign at Arizona State University in 2007, I was at first surprised at how people went crazy for HRC stickers. These blue and yellow equal sign stickers would drive people to commit to volunteering for whatever project my group and I were working on. From knocking on doors for LGBT friendly candidates to putting up four thousand flags all over ASU’s campus, these stickers were a big deal.
And I had boxes of them at home.
On one Saturday afternoon in 2007, the HRC Phoenix Steering Committee was having an event to gain more leaders within the community. We invited people to event, offered them lunch, and showed them what the Phoenix Steering Committee was all about.
I spoke for a few short minutes about how HRC at ASU was one of two on campus clubs, in the entire nation, and how we were took the national voice of the nation’s largest LGBT lobbying organization and brought it to the impressionable young minds of students at ASU. On top of that, I told them that Arizona State University was one of the largest universities in the nation and so it was a fantastic place for us to be getting the HRC mission to grow and create equality nationwide.
What I didn’t tell them is that I literally bribed students to help so they could plaster their laptops and car bumpers with a sticker that cost somewhere in the neighborhood of five cents to make.
On the day when were presenting to members of the community, I got another box of stickers and on my way home, I got behind a car I didn’t recognize with an HRC sticker on it. The sticker on this car was coming apart and so I followed them. I decided I would follow this person and give them a new sticker.
Call it crazy, but I was bleeding blue and yellow those days, and I knew this person would be incredibly thankful for a new sticker. So I followed them. And I followed them. Five miles out of my way turned into ten and ten turned into fifteen, and when they finally pulled into an unfamiliar neighborhood in the not-so-nice part of town, I was rethinking my plans to give this person a new sticker. When the lady in the SUV got out, I turned off my engine, hoped out and handed the lady a new sticker.
“What the hell?” she asked when I smiled and handed it to her. “This is what I Jesus was supposed to give me. Where’s the stuff?”
I was in shock, and it took me a moment to realize that this was lady was in the bad part of town to get some sort of package from someone named Jesus.
“I’m not with Jesus, or really anyone, I just noticed that your sticker was peeling off on the back of your car and thought I would give you a replacement since I have a few extra.”
She looked confused, and I motioned to the back of the SUV. She looked at the sticker, and I began to suspect that this lady was in this neighborhood to buy drugs, and this was very unlikely her car.
“Uhh, thanks, I guess,” she said and got back into the car, throwing the sticker in first and picking up her cell, probably to call Jesus and get what she was there for in the first place.
I hopped back in my car, and decided then and there , that stalking someone to give them a sticker is always a bad idea.