I was raised to believe that the only way to change things is by doing it yourself: by having the courage to stand up and speak out against injustice. I come from a long line of empowered women, who came of age in the 1960’s and the Great Depression respectively, two pivotal times in history for both great change and great upheaval. I now stand before you at the dawning of yet another key time in history: the dawning of a new Age of Enlightenment.
It may not feel that way sometimes: we still have plenty of folks who would love nothing more than to see all women subjugated and enslaved to their husbands and fathers, all children seen but not heard, all gay folks condemned to hell and all those who are “different” (read that as you will) banished to the mythical island of “somewhere else.” But the beauty of great change is that while it does bring a maelstrom of fierce winds, it also brings courage to the powerless, voices to the frightened, and shelter to the compassionate souls who live with valor, who wish to see that change come to fruition.
It all sounds highfalutin, perhaps, but consider this: was Martin Luther King Jr. a change-maker? Or Nelson Mandela? What about Susan B. Anthony? Che Guevara? Did they all sit back and let “someone else” do the speaking up? No, they certainly did not! Look at people who are already making a difference, whether it’s your local teacher, fighting for better education and supplies for his/her students, or an outspoken advocate for patients at a hospital, or the adult survivors courageously speaking out against their rapists. Or consider the tireless volunteers, who won’t take “no” for an answer, and who fight for the benefits so many people desperately need. Or how about the proud, brave warriors who’ve fought for equal rights and justice for our LGBT compatriots? Or for fair and equal treatment under the law for folks of color? For women? Children?
Are any of the aforementioned people famous or wealthy? Probably not, but they all have the courage of their convictions and strengths of character to take a stand.
These folks are all around us, and if we want real, lasting change we’d better start supporting them by speaking out, and standing up for them, and for ourselves. Don’t let those with hatred, greed and a lack of compassion in their hearts win the fight: it’s up to US to all be change-makers, in our own unique ways. Once we understand that we are all in this together, that we are all essentially the same under the surface, real compassion exists, and so does the desire for real, positive change. Do it now, do it loud n’ proud, people! We’ve got this!