The Silence Breakers Of 2017

The Silence Breakers Of 2017

Time's Person of the Year has many names.
109
views

Time’s Person of the Year is plural for 2017: The Silence Breakers.

Unveiled on December 7th, the cover features a striking image of five women: Ashley Judd, Taylor Swift, Adama Iwu, Isabel Pascual, and Susan Fowler. The sixth appears only as a jacketed elbow, pictured in the lower right of the cover. This tiny detail is elusive but pointed. The elbow belongs to of one of the unnamed “silence breakers,” for whom coming forth is still difficult, but whose voices matter no less.

It speaks to the value of the movement of the silence breakers; they aren’t all high profile celebrities whose platforms extend globally. They cannot all tell their stories as wholly or as openly as some have. This does not disqualify their experiences. It reminds us that the silence breakers are not limited to people working in Hollywood. They surround us. Theirs is not a movement with a leader or with a unifier.

On the woman cropped out of the image, Time correspondent Charlotte Alter provided, “That’s an anonymous woman who is a hospital worker who was experiencing harassment and didn’t feel that she could come forward.” In the feature story, aforementioned hospital worker emphasizes that she remained anonymous “as an act of solidarity to represent all those who could not speak out.”

The feature finds that “When a movie star says #MeToo, it becomes easier to believe the cook who’s been quietly enduring for years.” In fact, since the Weinstein allegations have come to light, a Time/SurveyMonkey online poll for American adults finds that “82% of respondents are more likely to speak out about harassment.” The diversity in the women telling the stories demonstrates the universality of the issue, being that they are all of different ages, religions, ethnicities, and incomes. Many of the interviewees expressed fear of repercussion for coming forth, as many of them are “vulnerable in society- immigrants, people of color, people with disabilities, low-income workers and LGBTQ people.” The fact that they will be recognized as people of the year, whether named or not, demonstrates a willingness and need to detach fear of coming forth from these instances.

Despite the social media revolution and the increased impetus for telling one’s stories, the legal and policy protections that address sexual harassment have not evolved to meet the demands of that revolution. The number of these stories that have emerged indicate the failings of sexual harassment policies, and of the norms that remain stagnant while others change. Recognizing the silence breakers is a step forward, but it is one of many yet to be taken.

Cover Image Credit: TIME / YouTube

Popular Right Now

Starbucks Corrects Its Wrongs In Light Of Recent Racial Bias Issue

All stores in the U.S. will be closed on May 29th to perform racial bias training.
3566
views

Recently, a video of two African-American men being arrested in their local Starbucks for simply standing and waiting for their friends in the lobby/seating area surfaced on the internet. Since this situation was brought to light, there has been an uproar of public outrage focused on the blatant racial bias these men were faced with. Even Starbucks itself had something to say about it.

For many African-American citizens, this situation is all too common. Being racially profiled is not a thing of the past and more than just these two men have experienced it. The ACLU writes about the experiences of citizens being racially profiled, stating,

"We rely on the police to protect us from harm and promote fairness and justice in our communities. But racial profiling has led countless people to live in fear, casting entire communities as suspect simply because of what they look like, where they come from, or what religion they adhere to."

In light of the recent incident at a Philadelphia Starbucks, many fans expressed outrage in the comments section of this post, but Starbucks responded to almost every viral, angry comment:

However, in the midst all of the outraged comments were fans who appreciated the message that Starbucks was trying to send:

Despite the mixed reviews on Starbucks' course of action, the company is standing strong in their choice to address the issue and correct it.

People come to Starbucks stores to drink coffee, hang out, talk with their friends, and have a good time. It is absurd that these two men were escorted out and arrested for doing just that. I, personally, have done that same thing and have never once been asked to leave.

As a country, we need to think about the way we treat people of color and other minorities. It is a shame that this kind of public outcry had to happen to bring racial profiling to our attention. People are treated unfairly for no reason other than the color of their skin every day.

Way to go, Starbucks.

Thank you for recognizing that this was not an isolated incident and that racial profiling happens all the time. Thank you for taking the time to publicly announce that you are willing to go through the proper training with your employees to ensure that it doesn't happen ever again. But most of all, thank you for making a statement to the rest of the nation and the world about what kind of company you are, what kind of people you represent, and that racial injustice will not be tolerated.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Why Earth Day Is Underrated, And What You Can Do

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.” –The Lorax
452
views

April 22 may be just another day to most, but with climate change on the rise and wildlife becoming extinct, it’s more important now than ever to recognize Earth Day and understand what it entails. Our society as a whole cannot let this day pass with nothing done. It has to serve as a reminder of the action that must be taken.

Late January of 1969 would come to be a turning point for our nation. At the time, the worst oil spill in history occurred in Santa Barbara, California. Founder of Earth Day, Gaylord Nelson was horrified, yet inspired. Soon after, he announced his idea to teach the nation about the environment and built a staff to promote events across the country.

Earth Day brought thousands of colleges and universities together to fight for the cause. It became a sense of unity for everyone. No matter who you were, what race you were, where you came from, Earth Day was able to empower these people and help them realize they all wanted the same thing for the home we share. This kind of behavior is exactly what we need today, and should enable us to see that we’re all on the same side.

By the time 1990 came, Earth Day became a global event. 200 million people were involved to fight for environmental issues.

Today, Earth Day and the environment face many challenges. With those who deny climate change, deforestation, oil lobbyists, fracking, dying animal life, politicians dividing our nation on these issues, and much more, Earth Day astoundingly continues to prevail through the obstacles. With over 190 counties participating in the event each year, and more than 1 billion people, it’s never too late to do your part and contribute to the day.

Here are some basic things that anyone can do to make a change. Every day counts, and anything you do matters.

1. Join a local outdoors cleanup


Rivers, forests, beaches, whatever is near you. Help clean up litter and debris.

2. Carpool

This is probably the simplest thing you and your friends or family can do. If you’re going to the same place, drive together. For every mile you don’t drive- you’re reducing your carbon footprint by 1 pound.

3. Bring reusable bags when you shop

They’re cheap, cute, and save an abundance on plastic.

4. Use a reusable water bottle

Save on wasting plastic bottles every day.

5. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products

Typical cleaning products are high in chemicals and toxicity.

6. Always recycle!

Paper, plastic, cans, anything you can. Every individual thing recycled makes a difference.

7. Use LED lightbulbs

This can reduce your footprint 450 pounds per year.

8. Volunteer at local environmental groups

See if your school has an environmental club, or anything local in your town. See how many people you can get to do it with you and make a day out of it.

9. Donate your clothes and check out thrift stores


Instead of throwing them out, give them to somewhere they will be of use. Also, thrift shopping is inexpensive and you can find some really unexpectedly great items!

10. Don’t wait until Earth Day to do all of these things


Keep up the green behavior year-round.

Do your part, and do what you can today.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

Related Content

Facebook Comments