I Refuse to Be Silent
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Politics and Activism

I Refuse to Be Silent

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."—Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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I Refuse to Be Silent
Ruth Fremson/New York Times

It seems almost everyday we are bombarded with injustices that are occurring around the world and in our own backyards. Hand in hand with these injustices, there always seems to be some debate as to whether giving horrible events air time is the right decision. I can see where this debate may come from; I mean, I watched hours of news coverage of the Turkey coup this weekend. But I'm also dismayed by the fact that a country was in chaos, over 150 people were killed and on most news sources, only a few minutes of air time was given to the event.

Terrible events occur everyday, both internationally and domestically, and the amount of information the average person gets regarding these events is a minuscule amount of the whole story. Most horrific events including those of terror, human rights violations and general acts of discrimination do not make it to any news source. So, the next time someone tells you to "just stop talking about it," know that you should do the exact opposite.

The second we stop talking about something is the same second the culture that allowed it to happen in the first place flourishes. You may realize that a situation isn't okay, but if you refuse to acknowledge it and do something about it you—and every other silent person—are responsible for the next time it happens.

Speaking up for injustices doesn't solely involve speaking up though; it involves listening and learning about the issues, especially from the viewpoint of those being discriminated against. While it is utterly important to stand up for others, it is even more important that while speaking out about the issues and the struggle for freedom or peace or rights, that you do not lose sight of those you are actually trying to help. Sometimes it can be too easy to get caught up in the idea of "doing something good" or "being a good person" and people forget that what their fighting for is far bigger than just themselves.

It may seem terrifying to stand against what seems to be an onslaught of people who would prefer to pretend everything will solve itself or "go back to normal" once people stop complaining, but if you know something isn't right, never stop fighting. You can speak out in so many ways—whether it be to your relatives or your friends, by writing an article, by working on the campaign of a legislator working to make the change you want to see, by contacting your already elected officials, or by being one of the people standing at the front of a protest side-by-side with those affected by injustices.

Some days it may seem as though you are screaming into a black hole and not a single person is listening, but even the smallest voice will bring hope to others around you and when you bring the hope, people gain the drive to stand up for others. No matter what you're standing up for, whether it be issues of race, gender, class, LGBTQ rights, international human rights and more. There will always be someone, somewhere who needs to hear your voice. The second those fighting for what is right go quiet, is the second we will be hopeless. It's up to us—to you—to make sure that never happens.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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