In the Progressive Era of the early 20th century, there were what are called Muckrakers. The term came from a day when Teddy Roosevelt was asked by a few journalists to answer some questions on the street. Journalism was a new profession created in wake of the newspaper's rising popularity, it was not a renown profession and President Roosevelt added to their poor public reputation in a famous quote in response to those journalists; "I will not have them rake muck over my good name!" and thus, coined the term "muckraker" as a colloquialism for a journalist or someone who set out to "stir the pot" by revealing the injustices and discrepancies in society through photography, art, news articles, literature, or other media.
We owe such things as the regulation and inspection of meat, drugs, and food, as well as the progression of the refrigerator to Muckrakers like Upton Sinclair who wrote a book about the horrific conditions of the meat packing industry of his time. Ida Tarbell pioneered investigative journalism and what would become our modern profession of social work through writing and speaking about the pain, mistreatment, and injustice women and children without homes face.
Urban reform, the invention of the garbage collection system, destruction of tenements and implementation of proper urban housing, and more refined sewage systems can be accredited to Jacob Riis and his book called How the Other Side Lives which sought out the stories and faces of people (primarily immigrants and people of color) forced to live in tenements which were cramped, shabbily built city housing that harbored disease and poverty.
So many journalists are being killed all over the world, not excluding the US, for writing the truth of the world around them. We need stories, we need faces, we need documentation of people's lives to keep so we never repeat what they have to have or let their reality die.
In the words of W.E.B. Du Bois, "all art is propaganda". What is propaganda? "Ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause." At the first meeting of what would become the NAACP, W.E.B. Du Bois said this to encourage the people at the meeting to tell their own stories and not let anyone tell it for them.
Everyone is born with a microphone and a story to tell, but the volume is different for everyone. It is naturally turned up or down for you based on your identity and society, which promotes a surplus of the same stories and maybe what is worse, a telling of someone else's story for them by someone with a higher volume on their microphone. Pass mics, don't speak for people. Tell your own story and help others tell theirs but never tell it for them. Art of any kind promotes some kind of message and cause, so do stories and the danger of telling someone else's is taking it from them and using it to promote your cause instead of theirs.
This is not a competition, people telling the stories of the people should not be pitted against each other, but respect the value of their voice by letting them proclaim it but always lift it and back it up.
And rake some muck. Tell the uncomfortable stories and make sure people hear them. Tell the truth, especially if it's uncomfortable, enraging, and scary. But let it be the truth because history is nothing if not the truth. If we do not remember people and their voices for who they truly were, no washing of their stories for our comfort and their belittlement.
Listen, speak, and rake some muck.