It's happened again.
Hatred and discrimination against a people group who are not the majority.
In America. In 2017.
This time with open, self-professing KKK, Neo-Nazis present.
In America. In 2017.
There's a computer in my pocket at all times. A satellite gets me everywhere I want to go daily. I can jump through time zones effortlessly in a cylinder of metal in the sky.
But there is still white supremacy.
In America. In freaking 2017.
I hate to shatter the illusion so many Americans are living in, but we are not nearly as advanced as we as a nation take credit for.
As many other Americans, I am still processing the recent, tragic events in Charlottesville. However, I do know 2 things unwaveringly:
This is unacceptable and must end, and I must do something to irradiate this evil, even if the evil does not effect me directly.
But after the "we must show love!" Instagram captions and tweets, this is where so many people stop. And yet, we are surprised when more casualties occur out of hate, discrimination, and inequality. Posting on social media does not make history.
Don't get me wrong, I love seeing people I know and don't know encouraging us to new heights of light and hope. I write those things as well! But we cannot allow ourselves to write those things and then feel we have played our part. That is the crux of social media: it is a gift for the awareness we can bring, and a crutch, giving us permission to not really act on our desire to see a change in society.
That being said, this piece is about action. So, what are tangible efforts we can do to be on the right side of history? These three steps are not EVERYTHING we can do, but it is a meaningful start.
1. Be Loud
There's a reason why I'm vocal about injustices and inequality as if it's labeled across my head. (If I had an anti-rascim hat like my feminist hat, I would wear one. Send me suggestions!)
Sending out love into the world doesn't make history. Did Abraham Lincoln tell people to be loving and then retire to his house? Did Rosa Parks pray for equality in the back of the bus? Did Martin Luther King Jr. keep his thoughts on injustice to himself to remain politically correct, to make sure he didn't offend any one? Hell no. The people who lead, the thousands who followed, the ones who actually made a life or death difference for generations put themselves out there. They stood grounded. They got physically tired. They. Were. Loud. While posting on social media about love and God and light is sweet, it's also stagnant. It's not active. It's easy and not a road block for those who have hatred and lies pumping through their minds.
I'm talking to anyone with a social media account. Yes, social leaders, celebrities, bloggers, pastors -- yes, of course. But just like your one voice matters, if you have 27 Instagram followers, every one of them deserve to be informed and their voice heard as well.
Speak loudly. Speak boldly, Speak specifically. The freedoms and opportunities you have now are results of others speaking up before you.
2. This is my favorite: Text Your Government Representatives!
Did you know you could do that? If you can share your thoughts with your social media followers from your phone, please share them with your representatives as well. It takes 5 minutes, tops! (Faster than trying to figure out what grammar rules to break to fit everything in a 140 character tweet.)
To start, simply test Resist to 50409. When prompted, you give your name, your zip code, and then the list of women and men who represent you in our U.S. government will appear. Upon choosing the recipients, you can then text a message that will be sent to your reps' offices as a fax. (I'm pretty sure my reps put their fax machine in the closet because this Elisabeth girl won't leave them alone.) But, if 2017 has taught me anything, it is that (whether for moral or bribed reasons) our representatives listen to us. Our voices have been loud, and bills have not been passed.
Some government leaders have been known to reply via email if you choose to leave the address. To learn more, check it out here. (Or just start with the text because, come on, too many nightmares have unfolded and your voice needs to be heard by our senators.)
3. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Please donate to support nonprofits who are working in the thick of it all. All three of these productive steps to help don't require you to leave your couch. Continue sitting on your couch and support those who are emotionally, physically, and spiritually tired from being on the front lines. Here is a list of organizations working to make sure what happened in Charlottesville will never happen again.