Let your voice be heard!

You might be feeling a flood of emotions since all the protests started. Ive talked with many patients and their response ranges from feeling guilty about not going to a protest to feeling overwhelmed by all the upheaval going on in the world. For me, protesting is not something I feel safe doing right now with the current pandemic. It doesn’t mean I don’t support the peaceful protests going on all around the world. I’m more comfortable letting my voice be heard through writing, creating healing art, and voting. There are so many ways to make a difference and let your voice be heard.  The goal is to find what works for you!

Much of the suggestions below have been adapted from a great article 12 ways you can be an activist without going to a protest written in 2017.

Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay

Vote:  Voting has always been a way to elect officials to fight for the values that matter most to you.

Contact Elected Officials: Calling or emailing your elected officials  is one of the most effective ways to influence your representative. Click here to find your House of Representative and Click here to find your Senator.  

Sign Petitions: Online petitions have been gaining popularity and can be a way to support causes you care about. Change.org is a popular site where you can start a petition or browse current petitions.

Educate and Read: Educating yourself is one of the most important things you can do to understand the issues in our society.  USA.gov can help you learn the facts and laws going on in the United States.  Much of the history taught in schools 20 years ago didn’t cover all the different points of view especially minorities. I recommend picking up a book focused on the history of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) instead of national or social media. 

Practice Self-Care: Take a break from the news and social media for as long as you need. Take a bath. Dance. Journal. Listen to music. Get a massage. Go for a walk. Go to bed early. Meditate. Garden. Go Camping.

Create: Creativity is a great outlet to let your voice be heard through your creation whether it be writing, song, dance, painting, crafting, or cooking. It can be cathartic and healing to funnel the thoughts and feelings you are having into a creative project.

Donate Money: Find a charity or non-profit that supports a cause you are passionate about and make a donation. 

Support Protesters: Do you have loved ones headed out to rallies and protests?  Make a care package including mobile chargers, disposable masks, water, hand sanitizer, pre-packaged non-perishable snacks, and sunscreen.

Speak Out:  Educate yourself and use your voice to support those that feel threatened by speaking out. “When you’re in a position of privilege, where your very existence doesn’t threaten your own life, you must call out inappropriate behavior.”–Felicia Fitzpatrick. This following section is directly taken from 12 ways you can be an activist without going to a protest written by Felicia Fitzpatrick a Black woman.

Pro-tips when speaking out:

  • Don’t say: “Well, ALL lives matter” Why? If all lives really did matter, we wouldn’t feel the need to exclaim that black lives matter at the top of our lungs.
  • Don’t say: “I don’t see color” Why? Okay, so you claim to not discriminate, but you’re erasing the struggles and the history of that entire group. You’re sort of saying that a person of color’s experiences don’t matter because you are blind to them. And, spoiler alert, a lot of people DO see color, so you’re dismissing a lot of racial issues that have taken place.
  • Don’t say: “I don’t care if you’re black, brown, blue, or polka-dotted” Why? Again, this is erasure of people of color AND this time with some objectification thrown in.
  • Listen to and Empathize With People of Color: Sometimes you just need to listen and not make it about you. Don’t explain a time you felt similar. Listen. Practice radical empathy. And then listen some more.
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