Silence is not necessarily complicity. An important part of demonstrating my commitment to an equitable society includes resisting the temptation to control the narrative, to fill up space with my ideas when there are so many voices to be heard. Silence also creates space for reflection to ground our actions.
Yet, silence that is based on avoidance or lack of conviction speaks volumes. During challenging times, we have an opportunity to demonstrate care for others and our communities by offering hope, direction, comfort, and inspiration. We can use our voice and whatever formal or informal influence we have to contribute to positive change.
But whatever we say, it needs to be linked to meaningful, sustained action.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve asked myself questions like how could so many people not be aware or not care enough to get involved – in whatever way is meaningful to them – before now? How can companies conscionably use their platform to pander with trite sentiment when we all know their motives are questionable? Maybe you have had similar thoughts. These questions reveal my rage linked to systemic injustice and serve as a distraction from the most pressing questions. Which are:
How is it possible for four people to commit such abominable violence in front of a crowd of people and walk away perhaps thinking that they did nothing wrong, or that they did the right thing or what was expected of them; and why is it possible for police to remain accountable only to certain people?
And, secondly, how do we make sure this never, ever happens again?
I have a lot of possible answers to both of these questions, and I’m sure you do too. I believe there are many right answers. My head has been swimming with thoughts as you can probably tell from the scattered nature of this message, which I’m sharing with great vulnerability.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can heal. By healing, I do not mean complacency or retreating into the safety of what seems familiar. I mean putting in hard emotional and intellectual work and committing to consistent awareness and action to create a world that is ruled by love and compassion. I’m thinking about how we, all of us, can:
- Lay down our arms and lift up our ideals
- Value our connections more than our investment in the way things are
- Ensure that all mothers can sleep soundly at night, each and every night
- Enjoy our (non-consumer, non-militant) freedoms without becoming complacent or complicit
- Allow or create space for others to flourish
- Resist retreating into authoritarianism and remain curious about nuance and complexity
- Create a world where it is no longer necessary to accommodate hate
- Have hearts heavy with hope rather than despair
- Gently challenge each other to keep learning and unlearning
- Acknowledge anger and despair as openings to transformation
- Safely and freely move in a world where connection to place is not based on a political or monetary system
- Show up for each other when our people are hurting without competition or judgment
- Be consistently engaged and committed to the creation of a more just, equitable, and loving world
I would love to hear from you. We need to be there for each other. What have you been thinking about? What actions are you involved in? What helpful resources have you come across? Is there anything I can do to support your involvement in this and other movements for human rights and dignity?