If you speak up for yourself, stand up for what is right, speak out against injustice, and notice others trying to silence you, all while not addressing the issues you speak about, what do you do?
You can either stop speaking and deny you and others have certain basic rights, or you can continue to speak up and face the consequences, which may be attempts to sabotage you.
The thing is that, whether you choose to speak up or not, you or others ARE being denied certain basic rights. Silence is not the better alternative because you are still being denied either way.
Everyday people are lured into silence thinking it will make for an easier and safer life: ignoring injustice, denying their own agency and rights, not wanting to rock the boat, fitting in with the crowd, benefiting from injustice.
Silence gives a false sense of safety, and after the illusion has melted away, the silent will realise that they lose as much as, or even more in the long run than those who speak up about injustice. The silent sometimes find themselves in a similar situation to the one(s) they were silent about. Then what?
I am always reminded of the words of two great activists when I weigh whether or not I should speak up for myself or others.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Zora Neale Hurston: “if you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”
These words, especially Hurston’s, always push me to speak up for myself. They should encourage you to do the same.
No matter what, SPEAK UP!
©️ Larisa McBean