I am finished being silent.
I know I am not the first person to speak, and that the reason I am able to find the courage to do so is because I am adding my voice to the chorus of many who have come before me. I honour those who said the first word, then the second and third.
I am speaking because what I believe, the change I work for, the things that anger and inspire me, make up who I am. There is a resistance in our culture to saying something that might make someone uncomfortable, or cause someone to disagree or be disappointed. I struggle with this, but the justice I am trying to bring about with my words is so much more important to me than creating a pillow of comfort for those around me. I’d rather risk vulnerability and inspire someone else to express their beliefs and passion, even if it is different than my own, rather than never shine with all that I have to offer.
I am speaking because silence is equal to complicity.
I speak because I am an optimist, and I believe that if I speak, I may be able to normalize ideology that could bring more justice to my corner of the world for marginalized people. I believe in the power of relationships and communication; I hope my words will make someone feel less alone. My words pay homage to those who had the courage to speak and create a space for others to say, “Me, too.”
I speak because I am tired of reading. Reading about sexual assault, racism, homoppression, ableism, reading about poverty and violence. I will keep reading, but if I do not speak against injustice, if I do not put my hand in the air to say, “I have an idea, this does not have to go on,” I may as well have read nothing at all. I cannot keep my solutions and my anger inside – they will make me sick.
I speak the same reason I sing – because I have a voice.