After a long week of many, many discussions, reflection, and heavy emotion, I am ready to move forward. The question we must be asking ourselves is: “When push comes to shove (perhaps literally), do I really have your back?”
This is not a question to ask in vain, for we all have some sort of privilege (white, male, hetero, able, financial, etc.). How will we use it to create real, lasting change? To jump in, engage, and have someone else’s back? What lengths are you willing to go to ensure everyone feels like they belong?
Are you willing to get involved when you see harassment in the workplace? At home? On the street? Around the upcoming holidays’ dinner table? A subtle look, comment, or gesture that indicates inclusion for some and exclusion for someone else? Are you willing to challenge white supremacy and patriarchy and heterosexism/homophobia, among others, every chance you get? What other creative ways can you stand up to oppression? For this is NOT the time to be complacent! We ALL have work to do!
The idea of wearing a safety pin in solidarity with the movement can be a positive first step, as long as it’s not all you’re doing. It reminds me of the paperclip resistance that came out of Norway during WWII, where when public protest was not an option, wearing a paperclip was a silent challenge to the systemic oppression that was occurring. We, however, live in a country where we can protest publicly, we only need the fortitude to do so. We cannot stand idly by. We must engage with others on the important issue of liberation for all!
Consider this: YOU have the power to shape this social movement. What do you want it to look like? Who do you want to be involved? Who will stand by you and who do you need to bring on board? Who can you approach with an open heart to bring on board? Keep in mind, only 27% of eligible voters in the U.S. voted for Trump. The rest either voted for Clinton, or didn’t vote!
I refuse to live in fear. I refuse to make decisions rooted in anger or blame. We must, instead, fight hate and fear with love and light, just as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advised. I am not suggesting Kumbaya at all, for we do have a fight ahead of us, and we must be ready. But power coming from fear is contracted and weak; whereas power coming from love is expansive and strong. We CAN work (and for some, continue to work) in solidarity to bring about the change we want to see. What changes will YOU make in your life to do so? How will YOU make a difference? How can you work to engage, challenge, inspire others in your quest for healthy, effective, powerful change that is rooted in love, light, and hope for a better future?
We can take action! We can:
- attend empowering protests in our local cities and get others to do the same
- sign petitions that challenge discriminatory legislation and get others to do the same
- know your history: consider the powerful lessons learned by our siblings who came before us during the 1960’s; they have so much wisdom to share
- wear a safety pin in solidarity, but only if you truly mean it: if you are willing to take whatever means necessary to advance freedom for all!
- create spaces and open your hearts to family, friends, and community for discussions of creative solutions
- let others know how committed you are to making a difference – we have the power to help guide their way
- be on the lookout for local events that will push you toward your leading edge: building relationships across difference, for that’s what it will take to build this movement!
- and so much more…
As I heard at a diversity conference I was presenting at the other day, not since the 1960’s has there been a better time for social change. This is it folks! The time is now to have someone else’s back, for real! Are you ready?