Our Silence Is Helping Hatred Breed

Worshippers gather to pray in a hotel parking lot across the street from the Emanuel AME Church following a shooting Wednesda
Worshippers gather to pray in a hotel parking lot across the street from the Emanuel AME Church following a shooting Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

I thought I'd stay silent today. I woke up to the headlines just as everyone else did. My heart sank, as it always does, to read about another mass shooting, this time in a Charleston church. More violence. More hatred. More guns. More victims. I was so exhausted at the disgusting, horrific headlines as of late, I thought, "I have nothing new to add."

But then I thought about how my silence is a privilege, because it is. It is a privilege that I can decide whether or not I will let something affect me, rather than be forcely immersed in an issue because it directly affects me. My silence is a privilege that would be wrong and irresponsible to squander. For the black community, I wish for change. For humans, I wish for change. And I know I can't say nothing and hope that change will come on its own. Even if it's the same conversation over and again, we have to keep engaging it. When we ignore things, for whatever the reason, our silence acts as approval.

I feel like we owe children an apology. It's grossly unfair that this is the world they get. This is what we've built for them. We've built them a world wherein anywhere they go, they can and in many cases should, carry fear with them. We have allowed this because we read headlines of horrific circumstances and events, we shake our heads in disapproval, maybe even cry, and then we find things that will make us feel better, carrying on with our days, completely ignoring the plight of others and the consequences of doing so. And these consequences are grave, because the longterm results mean an even more dangerous world, with allowances of dehumanization running rampant. Our children won't want their own children because why would they? Any logical person wouldn't subject someone they love to such an apocalyptic society wherein humans don't love and fight for each other. We weren't meant to be unfeeling and uncaring. If we become that, we are no longer humans, and humans may as well be no longer.

When do we deconstruct, and rebuild for those young ones whom we leave our legacies? Charleston is Columbine happening again. Charleston is racism happening again. Charleston is hate breeding itself again. Charleston is stagnancy... again. All of it will happen over and over again until we decide we can't let it anymore. Please make that decision with yourself and each other that this is NOT okay. Please decide that we know better and deserve better. And especially that our children do.

Speak up, act up, demand change, teach our youth to be kind and empathetic, yet strong enough to be allies to those who fight on a daily basis things they don't have to endure. Do it all to exhaustion... and then do it some more.

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