I was born in 1951. I have lived through some very upsetting times in America. Times when political leaders allowed things to happen that basic human decency should have prevented.
Out of the outrage felt by those who were striving for change came great leaders who coalesced us and gave us direction: Martin Luther King, Jr, Robert Kennedy, Caesar Chavez, Betty Friedan, Rachel Carsen, and the millions of people who walked for miles and stood strong in protest –especially those who risked life and limb to do so.
When Bush sent the US to war, I wondered where all the people were– why weren’t we flooding the streets in protest? Then, and through recent years, we have collectively stayed at home and protested by clicking a button on our smartphones.
Until this election.
We know we can gather in force. Nearly 28,000 people gathered for Bernie Sanders in April; 33,000 came together for Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia just a few days ago; and President Obama drew 100,000 people together in Missouri in October.
There is an undeniable force for change when we gather together to make a statement. Massive protests moved this country forward and ended the Vietnam War, brought about the enforcement of the Civil Rights Act, gave women the right to their own reproductive choices and equal rights overall, attained workers’ rights for migrant workers, initiated the EPA, and brought national attention and support to the LGBT community.
My hope is that President Obama and Michelle will continue to be visible and to lead and remain a catalyst for positive change. And there are many other leaders who must continue to speak out.
Individually, each one of us can stand proud in our conviction that racism, misogyny, sexism, bullying, greed– all that Trump stands for and personifies– do not define us or this country.
We do this through the peaceful protest of having every choice we make in our lives *count*, from how we allow others to speak and behave in front of us to what we purchase and what we give credit to by acknowledging online. We protest against the attitudes of those who would separate us by staying strong in our coalition for bettering ourselves and the country. We must hold our leaders accountable and demand that the media stop trying to be the best in entertainment and start being the best at reporting the truth.
And when the times come to do so, we gather in solidarity and make our collective voice heard.