On this day, we celebrate MLK, Jr., his dreams and ideals. Under normal circumstances and in the past, I’d listen to his famous speeches, talk to the little monkey about history, thank the universe we were making progress. This year…is different. The circumstances are not normal, no matter how some people try to make it so. Our progress is stalled, and I fear those in power will snuff it out unless we do something tangible. The preview to the Twilight Zone we’ve all been cast in looks pretty damn scary. But, I want to focus on the positive today…on things we can do that can make a difference. Things that can, if nothing else, make us feel like we are being useful and engaged.
There are many ways we can stand up for the things we believe in…for the people and ideals we believe in, as MLK, Jr. did. PROTEST. Civil disobedience. I know a lot of people find this “annoying” and “useless” – but guess what…it gets the job get done eventually. And quite frankly, screw those people. Note that women only got the right to vote 97 years ago. Ninety-seven. It took 72 years from the first suffragette meeting for women to achieve their goal…but with persistence, it happened. I’m not talking about a bunch of angry and bored teenagers blocking a freeway for kicks. I’m not talking about people with nothing better to do walking with a bunch of other like-minded people shouting because they just want to hear their own voice.
Stand up, make your voice heard. Purposefully explain to your representatives exactly what will get them re-elected. Whether it be at a local representative’s town hall meeting, parades or other local events where your local representatives are going to be, stand up and talk about the issues that matter to you. Don’t assume that there are enough people already doing that…because if that were the case, we wouldn’t be where we are now!
This can also come in the form of flooding your rep’s office with phone calls. It can help to also call those who aren’t your representatives, but you’ll likely get a better response if you are specifically a member of their constituency.
Sit Ins and Other Useful Actions
Back in the early 1960s, the sit in became a frequently used nonviolent protest in the Civil Rights Movement. When used, it was a deliberate move, made by those with an incredible amount of patience and singularity of purpose. We need to have the SAME singularity of purpose now and likely, patience. (A post on how to make that part easier coming soon…)
Use these resources to get you started, or do a Google search to find your own inspiration:
The Indivisible Guide – written by former Congressional staffers on how to make our MOCs (Members of Congress) listen to what we have to say
Wall-of-Us – weekly acts of resistance that come straight to your inbox once a week
In a few days, the country will inaugurate a new president. The day after his inauguration across the country, men and women will be marching in celebration of human rights. The largest will be in D.C., but there are marches and rallies happening in cities across the nation. If you can participate, I encourage you to do so. Regretfully, I can only attend my local march in spirit, but I know there will be more, and I won’t miss them all.
Don’t Be Silent…
If our memories are merciful, and they usually are, we won’t remember the Tweets that have come and will continue to do so no doubt…we’ll remember if we chose to stay silent in the wake of complete and utter insanity. We’ll remember if our friends were silent.
I’ll end today with a favorite quotation of mine…and wish you a peaceful week.
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”