It is the easiest thing in the world to live safely. We don’t mean safe, as in wearing your seat belt while driving, safe as in locking your doors, safe as in being particular about your where-abouts after dark when you’re female and alone. We mean safe as in not shaking up the societal declaration of the status quo. Far too often, the majority will shake their heads and say, “What a shame.”
We must agree, it is a shame. It is a shame that that is as far as your action goes when you see injustice happening. It is a shame that people sit comfortably and accept the injustices a block away because it is not happening on their front porch. Or worst yet, those people who do not move because of what their neighbors might think of them, while persecuting those who act despite what their neighbors think.
Martin Luther King said, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” So there are some that seem to stand for the continual pursuit to be granted these words, “all men are created equal”, and it has echoed throughout history. Thomas Jefferson wrote “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
There is no real focus on civil rights. Many downplay the fact that men and women are born and remain free and equal in rights: the rights of liberty, the right to own property, the right to feel safe and the right to exercise resistance against oppression. To that end, we must think like our late Congressman, John Lewis, and get in some “good trouble.” Through his non-violent belief system, his good trouble made significant changes in our society. He understood change would not happen if you sit back, shaking your head and continue to allow passive racism and racial microaggression, to continue to exist in your neighborhood, community and city.
It is time to try something different. Stop shaking your head about the shame until it knocks on your door. Stop persecuting and ostracizing those who speak up for you.
But if you are standing up for something, don’t stop. Understand, “The easiest thing for most people to do is to stop, or to give up. The hardest thing for most people to do is keep going, fighting against the odds. That’s what one of my mentors said today: It’s true. Today, instead of feeding your fears, find YOUR reason to keep going and stay focused on it.”- James Weeks.
Sharon and Craig Butts, Unity in the Community Inc.