Image: Slodak Photography
The shooting in Parkland last week has taken over much of my life these past 1.5 weeks. I am consumed by the teenagers that have taken a life-altering tragedy and turned it into world changing activism. We already know of my Twitter addiction, but it’s only gotten worse, following these amazing young men and women, as they take on internet trolls, Politicians (on live TV), our “President” and even the NRA. They are delivering fiery, gut-wrenching, and emotional speeches and they are organizing and I can’t help but feel a small glow of hope & optimism in my heart. That maybe this really is (finally, dear god I hope) the start of change pertaining to guns in our country.
I have to keep believing this. I just have to. My daughter will soon go to school, we go to concerts and movie theaters, our very lives (just like yours) are at risk EVERY DAY that we let this gun-obsession continue in our country. But this post isn’t meant to be about my stance on gun control (if you want that, you can head to my Twitter feed) this post is about being called to action – and why some people seem to have that innate quality, and others don’t.
Kids are walking out of schools, organizing marches, taking Politicians to the wood shed, facing suspension, the LEAST we can do is pick up a phone and call our elected officials, vote, and if we have the money, support the causes we say we stand for. Last week a specific tweet popped up in my feed that really got me feeling introspective and almost disappointed in myself. Qasim Rashid (@Muslim IQ) on Twitter, wrote:
Wow. I remember Columbine. I was in school during Columbine. Why didn’t I do anything after Columbine? Sandy Hook? Charleston? … the list goes on. Sure, I did SOME things, I started a monthly $10 donation to “Everytown for Gun Safety”, among a few smaller other items, but why didn’t I do MORE. Why didn’t I organize other students? Why didn’t I more vocally take on politicians, or my family/friends to call their politicians? Why didn’t I see gun control as an essential pillar of the 2016 house/senate races?
I honestly don’t know yet. I am still trying to figure this out. Was it my privileges? My naivety? Thinking, this won’t actually happen to me? Was I already desensitized? I really don’t know – why some humans seem to have an innate sense of being called to take action, and others like me, don’t.
“I had the unique experience of being at a high school that had the AP Newswire (via Satellite dish!) for our radio station. I remember reporting Columbine as the wires came in. It never occurred to me to take action. I am sorry it did not.” – @DaveStroup
I can tell you this much though, it’s something about myself that I would like to change. It’s not going to be easy – I feel uncomfortable, I feel tired, I can already feel myself finding excuses to get out of taking real action (going to political organizing meetings, continuing canvassing, attending marches & protests, etc). I donate (and there is something to be said for that) a lot to politicians at all levels and in varied races and I did canvas in VA for the first time this past election cycle in VA – but I need to do more. I need to DO more because the lives of our citizens literally depend on it. And not even just others’ lives, my families lives … my friends lives. There is no longer a feeling of “that couldn’t happen to us” and more of a feeling of “when will this happen to us”. And I cannot accept that. It has to change.
And so to affect that change, ACTION needs to be taken. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be in big ways like Emma, Cameron, and others are leading with. It’s OK to take smaller steps of action: calling your reps, going to a local Moms Demand Action Meeting, emailing your friends/family to consider voting a certain way (and why they should). And I am not saying this will be easy – even small actions can be hard to take for people like me that don’t have the innate sense of taking charge, but we DO need to collectively DO things to affect change and have a real impact here. Our lives literally depend on it.
“Dr. King was 26 when the Montgomery bus boycott began. He started small, rallying others who believed their efforts mattered, pressing on through challenges and doubts to change our world for the better. A permanent inspiration for the rest of us to keep pushing towards justice.” – Barack Obama