After being an elected representative for 4 years, I have learned how important it is to speak up, consistently and repeatedly.  I have found that sometimes, bringing up an issue, knowing that the vote is going to fail, is a very important first step towards making some amazing changes.

After serving on the bomb squad in the military and being a part of many “firsts” I have learned that if you step up when no one else will, there are those waiting to follow.

I have also seen the tragedy when no one did step up.  I sat on the bench waiting for someone else to say what I thought somebody else would.  No one did and as a governing body of 9, we were all guilty in our silence.

It was hard to speak up, especially when everyone else was silent.  It was hard when those who had been on the bench much longer than I had were silent or publically disagreed with me.  It took a whole lot of courage.  I found it.  I found it when I would be at the grocery store and people I had never met came up and thanked me for “fighting for them.”  I found it when the newspaper would attack me and citizens would step up in my defense.  I found my voice and courage because it was far harder to remain silent.

Publically standing up for what you believe is right can be scary and intimidating.  Not standing up to racism is worse.  Silence is not an option.  History shows us the tensions we are facing today are part of a systematic and organized campaign.

SPEAK UP!  SHOW UP!  Do something.  How about taking a few things from the 198 methods of nonviolent action?

How about signing up for our mailing list and keeping up on gatherings and actions and participating?

For now, I am going to sing with Yara and work on item 18 and 19 of the 198:

Symbolic Public Acts
                    18. Displays of flags and symbolic colors
                    19. Wearing of symbols

I think I will put some colored ribbons on a safety pin to represent the diversity in my family.  A brown ribbon for my grandchildren, an olive one for my grandfather from Lebanon, a rainbow ribbon for my lesbian cousin, a red ribbon for love.  I am going to need a big pin because I am blessed with so much diversity in my life.  When I make and wear such symbols, some people ask about them and usually I hear, “we all need to do more of that.”

How do you want to look back and see yourself stand up against growing public displays of racism?  Silence is acceptance.  It is wearing the full uniform of the white supremacists.  Silence says let more people get murdered by white supremacists in our streets.

Your voice is needed.

Ohhhh, somebody’s hurting my brother and its gone on far too long….and we won’t be silent anymore.