Live and Let Live- a movement against discrimination

Laura Tucker-Longsworth

“In Belize we believe in treating others the way we would want to be treated,” “Discrimination isn’t a Belizean value”, and “Respect and fairness matter to Belizean families” are just some of the messages the “Live and Let Live” campaign hopes to spread in our country. The campaign for respect has been launched with national TV and radio spots and seeks to explore the values of respect while not condoning discrimination, in any of its forms. It is a movement for the everyday Belizean, and will include a series of public service announcements (PSAs) featuring very real and very personal stories. The main intention of the campaign is to get this message across: regardless of our differences, we each deserve respect and, as such, should offer respect to everyone. While that is a message most if not all Belizeans have learnt from a young age, and one which most people practice, there are instances where that is not the case. It is possibly most common in the workplace that discrimination is experienced, whether it be due to gender, sexual orientation or identity, age, or other factors. “Live and Let Live” shows the everyday Belizean who has faced some sort of discrimination and the impact it has had on their life.
Laura Tucker-Longsworth, former Speaker of the House of Representatives and well-known community member, has stamped her name behind the campaign. As the campaign’s spokesperson, she has said, “I am proud to put my name on this campaign. With its positive message of acceptance and equal treatment, Live and Let Live can only contribute to the wellbeing of our nation.” Because, as Belizeans, we tend to hold basic decency and respect close to our heart, this treatment must be extended to include everyone, and this campaign brings just this goal to life. Tucker-Longsworth ends by saying, “We hope the campaign will spark a widespread conversation about what Live and Let Live means to each of us, and how we can put our shared values into practice.”
Each story which will be featured is unique, but the central message is the same: treat others as you wish to be treated. Kenrick Theus, Star Liam Reyes, and Julie Robinson have each been featured, sharing completely different experiences. Theus has had to learn to navigate life in a wheelchair since being amputated; Reyes, a transgendered individual, has learned to live his life; and Robinson has worked in a male-dominated industry as a woman. All of these persons have faced discrimination due to their ability status, sexual orientation, and gender. Nonetheless, they have learned to contribute to their society and find support networks for themselves.
The campaign invites everyone to share their story.