Monday, November 14, 2016

All I Have is Words

All I have is words and I fear they may not be enough.


I am not in a position of political power or authority.
I am not a journalist or a news anchor or an actor in the public eye.
I don't have national reach or a million followers.
I'm not the kind of person to lead marches or organize boycotts; I'm not that brave or comfortable to be the public face of any kind of movement.


I know what it's like to be bullied.
I know what it's like to be assaulted.
I know what it's like to feel vulnerable and afraid.

I know what it's like to be in a position to advocate and help those more vulnerable than myself. And through that advocacy, I have finally learned how to stand up for myself.


There are people in my family and in my community of friends who are frightened. For a myriad of reasons, they find themselves in a vulnerable position. Some are black or brown. Some are gender non-conforming. Some are gay. Some are women in traditionally male spaces. Some are neuro-atypical. Some are Muslim or Jewish or Sikhs, or atheist - or any number of beliefs or non-beliefs that put them in the minority. Too many live at the intersections of these vulnerabilities.


On Tuesday, a candidate was elected who stated loudly and publicly that being 'other' won't be tolerated. A candidate who, by his very choices in advisors, has reinforced that message, despite any conciliatory soundbites he may be making for the media. 

And in the ensuing days, I heard - over and over - loud calls for unity and acceptance.



In relation to a man whose very platform is disunity and rejection of the other.

The cognitive dissonance is stunning.


I will not accept hatred.
I will not accept inequity.
I will not accept this new 'normal' that encourages acts of violence against already marginalized populations.


I am a 53 year old white suburban Jewish woman, living in a liberal enclave in the Northeast. I have been steeped in privilege for a lifetime and while my beliefs and my politics have always tilted toward justice and equity, I have been forced to admit that I have not done enough.

I was afraid.

And in my fear, I closed my eyes to the reality for too many in my community who have had no choice but to struggle against a system that wasn't built for them.

As a friend and fellow writer said to me last week: Welcome to the party. It's been going on for a long time, but we have a space for you at the table.


I am a writer and my tools are words.

I fear they will not be enough.

Still, I will not remain silent.

I will speak and I will write and I will act.


I will speak and I will write and I will act.



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