I am scared. Yes, even as a white woman living in suburban Iowa, I am scared. I am scared as a sexual assault survivor. I am scared as someone who works with refugees and immigrants. I am scared as someone that loves many in the LGBT community. I am scared as someone with Muslim friends. I am scared as someone who loves many people of color. I am scared for my hispanic friends and co-workers. I am just plain scared.
I am terrified for the rash of violence and hate that has risen up in this country. For the people that now feel free to use painful words, to grab women "by the pussy" without permission, to scrawl graffiti aimed at those in oppressed populations. I'm terrified for my friend that had her hijab pulled off, for my son's classmate that was told to "go back to Africa", for my Hispanic friend whose classmates chanted "build a wall" as she walked in the lunchroom.
What scares me even more than the actions of hate, if such a thing is even possible, is those that are choosing to be silent in the wake of these actions. Those who are are decrying and denouncing the right to peaceful protest and asking the media to not cover the outrage. Those who are asking for Facebook to again be full of children's pictures and puppies because they don't want to look discomfort in the eye. Those mocking those who are hurting instead of wrapping them in love. Those who I thought would stand firmly beside me that are so painfully silent.
We must not be silent when violence against any our brothers and sisters is present(yes, this includes Trump supporters. Violence against anyone is wrong). We must not be silent when the anti-LGBT, anti-people of color, anti-Muslim slurs are used. We must stand beside them, especially those like myself that are straight, white Americans that have never experienced such hate against ourselves.
We must not go quietly into this dark night. We must not be silent.
How many of us have asked ourselves or had our children ask us what we would have done if we had lived in the time of Hitler's Germany. This is our time to find our answer. Will we be silent as others are persecuted for who they are or will we stand beside them? Will we allow for those who are different from us to have the same freedoms as us or we will allow them to have their rights stripped away?
We must not be violent. We must not be hateful. We also must not be silent.
This isn't about politics. This is about people. People who are hurting and scared and suffering.
No matter your political affiliation or the vote that was cast, I ask you to find the tiny place inside yourself that knows that we all deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. I ask that you stand firmly when you see hate or injustice. No, it's not always going to be easy-- nothing that matters ever is. A silent ambassador of peace and love is not an ambassador at all.
I know many of you are scared. You are not alone. I promise to stand beside you. It is not enough, I know. But, I promise to not be silent. I promise to raise children who will also stand beside you and not be silent. I promise to rise up and be a light in the darkness.