Pratik Dash, campaign organizer for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, speaks about breaking the silence through empowering people to vote and stand up for the other.
The poet Audre Lorde wrote these powerful words. Say these words silently in your heart, then read them aloud. Listen to yourself speak. Reflect upon your own fears and the fears of others
“A Litany for Survival"
For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
like bread in our children's mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:
For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother's milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.
And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive.”
―Audre Lorde, The Black Unicorn Poems
Use some of these tools to raise your voice in your local community.
1.Engage with your representatives. Only a small number percentage of votes cast can change the outcome of an election. Go to your local and state representatives websites and do research about those who are representing you in government. Go to http://www.house.gov/representatives/ and https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/ to find your representative.
2.Fight fear through education. In order to recognize our fears and extinguish them, we must be educated. Visit or volunteer with organizations that promote inclusively and social justice like TIRRC. This link is a good place to find a similar organization near you. Talk to individuals who are different from you and listen to their stories and narratives.
3. Break your own silence. Although it can be hard to find the ways to raise our voices in the midst of injustice, there are ways to be a vocal presence. Find local organizers, pastors, or social workers and be in dialog with them. Ask them about tactical ways to approach issues and confront fear-driven rhetoric.
4. Reflect. Sometimes we get so lost in the chaotic moments in life that we forget to stop and process. Find space to pray and reflect on what is happening in our world and in our country. Search for those places where our faith teaches us to stand up to injustice and strive for peace.