Most times, I tend to hide my opinions because I hate confrontation. I feel more comfortable in discussing my strong beliefs with people that agree with me or people who already know how I feel.
But now is not the time to be quiet.
I do not even know where to start. This should not be a sore subject. How can we bear to live in a world full of happiness and love one moment, but hate and ignorance the next?
The fighting has not stopped.
I remember being in the second grade and my best friend at the time was black. We were only seven years old at the time, and the color of our skins meant nothing to our friendship.
I did not even know what racism was at the time, and that comes partly from growing up in a white middle-class family and partly from the fact that it did not matter if my best friend was a different race.
What only mattered was that we were inseparable.
One day we were learning about the Civil Rights Act, and my teacher pointed to me and my friend and said, "You guys would not have been allowed to be friends." My teacher was not saying this to upset us; she was saying this to educate us.
I remember thinking how awful a world that would have been if I could not be friends with someone because of what society thinks. As I moved on to middle school and high school, I learned more about our history and how broken the world was.
However, even though the times have changed and some issues have been resolved, the fighting has not stopped. We continue to oppress people because of what? The way that they look? The color of their skin? And the fact that tragedies have to keep happening for us to notice this major issue is unsettling.
It is OK to feel uncomfortable with what is happening, as long as you recognize what is happening and are willing to fight for change.
I am guilty of getting off Twitter because I do not feel comfortable watching any more videos or reading any more tweets. However, I have the privilege of turning it off. I have the privilege of keeping it out of sight and out of mind.
But, what good does that do? What good does it do to ignore what is happening? Even though I am not individually affected, people I care for and love are affected.
The world is choosing to treat the black community unjustly and there is no way that I am just going to live my life not caring. So, it is OK to feel uncomfortable, because that is how you grow.
That is how you begin to form your opinions and ideas. All I ask, though, is to recognize that someone is more uncomfortable than you. Someone does not feel comfortable walking in the streets, to go to a park, to do everyday things that we find so easy. Recognize your privilege and turn to those that need your prayers and help.
Please continue to be educated.
I know it is so easy to follow one trend and think, "OK that is it. Now everyone knows I support the movement and I'm done now." But do not stop.
Donate. Listen to podcasts. Watch movies. Read books. Sign petitions.
That is what is so important about our world today. We have the connections and technology to stay informed. If you feel like you are not doing enough, ask someone.
So many of my friends are sending links to funds to donate to, so I guarantee you someone would be willing to help you get started. Use your advantages to bring some change into the world.
Most important: Please check up on your friends and family.
Check up on your black friends. Check up on everyone. Ask them what they are thinking. Ask if they are OK. I promise you that it will make a difference. I am grateful to be a part of a community where I can share my voice on this platform.
Everyone has a platform where they can share their voice. You just have to figure out how to use it to represent what you stand for.