The day before yesterday I wrote about the importance of acknowledging others. Today I feel the need to write about the importance of standing up.
Throughout our lives, if we are living consciously, we will be confronted with lots of examples of injustice. I have always believed that if we see something happening that doesn’t feel or seem right, we need to stand up and speak out.
I have always tried to, but there have been times when my voice became silent and my knees buckled long before they should. It was easier when I was younger and less conscious of the extent of the consequences of standing up.
I still stand up and speak out but I’m infinitely more conscious of which battles I fight. And of strategy. And I’m not proud of this now that I’m reflecting on it.
Not as an excuse but by way of explanation, there seem to be so many injustices today, and not very many people standing up and speaking out. We have become so complacent. Maybe it’s just my immediate community, I don’t know. But I long for the days when people power made a difference, ultimately cultivating the freedoms we enjoy today.
Had it not been for the suffragettes in all likelihood I wouldn’t be writing this blog.
Had it not been for the unions in all likelihood I wouldn’t be paid as much as my male counterparts, and would still be working extreme hours teaching 40+ kids.
Had it not been for Martin Luther King Jr and others like him, I wouldn’t be living in a rich and culturally diverse place.
As a group, we seem to have lost our desire to help others as well as ourselves. We seem to continually fail to create a better world. And we seem to fail to accept responsibility for the very selfish and entitled world we are fostering through our inaction.
I have a close friend who has been fighting the system in her workplaces for a few years now, and in more than one location. She has been relentlessly bullied in several locations with minimal support from the people that should support her. Fear of reprisal seems to force witnesses to turn their face away, as if it isn’t happening. The irony being that if we all stood together, the incidence of workplace bullying would decrease because the bullies would not have the support.
Fear is the emotion that stops me from standing up more often, that and fatigue. It is tiring to always fight and to feel isolated in that fight. It is much easier to be apathetic and sit quietly. To pretend injustice isn’t happening, and that you can’t see it or the effects of it.
But the empowerment this feeds to those who have the power, man, that’s destructive to all of us. It’s just a matter of time before our rights and happiness are violated.
In 2016 I’m going to try to harness my fear. I will stand up more often, as needed. I will be the best version of myself in the fight against injustice.
I urge you to join me. Step beyond the fear into a just and safe world. Together we can do it.