In the past, I was never one to stand up to people. It's not necessarily that I think I'm wrong or didn't want to stand up for what was right; I'm simply a reserved person. However, with all the hooplah going on in our society today taking a stand should be a priority. It has become a personal goal of mine to start standing up for myself - and for things I believe in.
I recently listened to a speech by JFK and, while I don't agree with him on some topics, this specific speech really made me think (you can read the full speech here). In this speech, President Kennedy spoke about the importance of free education to Congress. He pointed out that free education coupled with accessible college is one of the most important, if not the most important, resource available to strengthen American society. He argued that free education is a necessity. He stood up for what he thought was best for his constituents.
Right now, many important organizations are at risk of being defunded such as the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the Humanities, Planned Parenthood, public broadcasting, the Environment & National Resources Division of the Justice Department, among many others. While we may not be the President Kennedy, and we may not be speaking to Congress, we can still make our voices heard about topics that our society needs - like all of the organizations above.
One way that I think is the most effective is education. Start discussions on why you think these things are necessary. When you hear someone say that the Endowments for the Arts or Humanities aren't necessary, tell them why they are. Do they enjoy television? Broadway? Literature? All of those things can be improved through these endowments. They help educate. They statistically lower crime. Planned Parenthood? It provides affordable healthcare to women who may not be able to receive healthcare otherwise. It provides contraceptives which are proven to lower abortion rates (duh). Education & information are some of the most powerful tools. You'd be surprised how many people simply don't know what an organization does or stands for.
You can also participate in public demonstrations such as the Women's March, protests against immigration bans, or many others. Protests and public demonstrations are historic, and can work despite what is shown in the media. Ghandi was known for peaceful protests, the Cherokee peacefully protested in the nineteenth century, protests shaped the Civil Rights movement. Groups have even protested about television series being canceled, and networks have brought them back. While we might not consider protesting about TV shows, it helps proves that peaceful protesting can work.
Lastly, stand up for those who are different from you. I read an article a few days ago about using privilege for good. As a white woman, I'll be the first to say that white privilege is a real thing. It used to make me cringe when I'd hear someone mention the phrase "white privilege." Now, I accept that it's a fact and, although I wish it weren't, there are ways to channel that privilege into good. Stand in solidarity with people who aren't like you. Just because a problem doesn't affect you directly doesn't mean it isn't an issue. There are so many things that I will never encounter but just because I won't doesn't mean that someone else won't, either. Delve yourself into things that you haven't experienced and make it a priority to be involved in them.
There are so many ways to stand up for what you believe in, and whether that's something I believe in or not, I hope you put your heart into it. While you might not be educating on potentially defunded organizations or political topics, you can still use these simple ways to make a great start. Write about it, talk about it, protest for it, and stand in solidarity with people unlike you. Small steps can make change, and you can be part of it.
Hi, I'm Madeline
Blogger, teacher, writer, traveler, reader. Welcome to Mad's Muses!
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