Since leaving my hometown of 1,300 people, I've grown to see the world through a variety of lenses. As a result, advocacy has taken root and the humanitarian drive to support and spread news of those with different experiences than mine. Mostly those with less privilege. Mostly those of color. Mostly those differently abled. Mostly those who are LGBT. Mostly those of different religious and spiritual beliefs. Mostly, people who have been oppressed.
I have refused to teach about the "First Thanksgiving" in my classrooms, and decorate my home with smiling pilgrims and feathered Indians. I've boycotted Thanksgiving, and longed to be in the Bay Area for the Indigenous People's celebration. Instead we gallery walk photos of the #DAPL Sioux experience and quotes from the oil company in Texas, and view ASL coverage of DAPL on the Daily Moth.
This year felt slightly different. For the first time in my family, there was no medical emergency and no major stress. I've been looking forward to family time so much! Thanksgiving bliss had me dreaming of cranberry sauce and board games. As we prepare to gather together, my feed shows me articles and footage of suffering and inhumane treatment. I told myself, "No politics this year, just ignore your dad. Ignore your aunts and uncles. Ignore your mom and brothers. Ignore opinion." Be double plus good quiet. Then my feed showed me wounds, tears, and testimony. Finally, I broke down my shallow shell and found my voice again.
As I shared the posts from friends on the east coast about the Dakota Pipeline protests, I assumed everyone I knew, already knew, too. Yet with each post, my aunt responded. West coast friends shared. Cousins shared and commented. Southern friends replied.
And then I remembered, my voice matters. All our voices matter. Messages don't spread in the dark, in silence. Beliefs don't change by peacekeepers. Change doesn't happen by people-pleasers.
If you have nothing to speak of for yourself, then speak with someone else.
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