Monday, December 8, 2014

Raise Your Voice

Lately I've been talking a lot about Ferguson, and Eric Garner, and basically anything I can find about the issue of racial inequality in America, specifically as it regards to the police. It may be that people wish I would shut up. Well, I wish I could.

I would love to talk about other things, like my excited trepidation for the new Star Wars movie, going home for Thanksgiving, or my new obsession with a skinny Englishman named John Oliver. (He may someday be the subject of his own post because he is perfect.) I could tell you stories about dreaming that Stephen Colbert tried to hold my hand, or singing Annie in the elevator at work, or my recent introduction to X-Men. I've been learning about Ada Lovelace and performing a Christmas show and being baffled/pleased by a December so warm that I've been driving around with my windows down.

But just at the moment, I won't.

Right now I will use my voice, both online and in real life, to join in a discussion about social justice, because it is important. I strongly believe that it is vital for us to stand up when something is wrong, even it is controversial. All that it is necessary for evil to conquer is for good people to do nothing. And as a white person, I will never truly understand racism, but I can fight against it because I understand that it exists. If I see injustice in the world I am going to say something about it. This was not always true about me, but I learning that what people think of me is far less important than being able to live with myself.

There was a protest in Salt Lake City on Saturday night. I very much wanted to go, but I had a performance in the aforementioned Christmas show. This whole week I've been having a bit of a quarter-life crisis in the vein of, "How long would it take me to drive to Missouri? I have enough for  a plane ticket to New York. Do you think the protests in San Francisco are still on?" Because I want to be a part of it. I want to stand up and be heard. I want to carry a sign that says JUSTICE and march down a street to make a statement.

I'm not black. I can't chant "We can't breathe" or "We are all Mike Brown". I'm not oppressed by my race. But I want to be on the right side of history, and much more importantly I want to be one the right side of my humanity. I would never be the person who actively disparages the protesters, but I feel that I would be betraying myself to sit back and be silent.

You don't have to agree with us. But we will not apologize for our views and we will not be silent. I will have an open-minded discussion with you if you will have an open-minded discussion with me. But what it comes down to, in my mind, is that when it comes to human rights, the only change this country has ever seen has come from people who are willing to fight for it. I intend to stand up against injustice and inequality and say, "This is wrong." Because it is. My soul knows this, my mind knows this, my heart knows this.

"And say to those who blame us/ For the way we chose to fight/ That sometimes there are battles that are more than black or white/ And I could not put down my sword when justice was my right/ Make them hear you/ Make them hear you." -"Make Them Hear You", Ragtime

"Do you hear the people sing?/ Singing the song of angry men/ It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again/ When the beating of your heart/ Echoes the beating of a drum/ There is a life about to start with tomorrow comes" -"Do You Hear the People Sing?" -Les Miserables

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