To protest or not to protest

Are you experiencing protest-envy? Does the sight of people with placards stir you? Or make you roll your eyes? Not again, not now, not my March, not any march.

Me, I’m somewhere in the middle. I’ll admit I’m weary of the need for this spectacle and wary of its impact, but I’m also hopeful. I can’t but feel hopeful when people come together to speak out against perversions of power. That’s what a protest is, right, speaking out against the misuse and abuse of power?

It’s about not keeping quiet. When it matters most.

I’ve been quiet too often in my life. When it mattered. Quiet when I knew development money was being wasted. Quiet when I suspected my boyfriend was cheating. Quiet when strangers suffered. Quiet when my clients paid me less than they should.

Quiet when I was scared. Quiet when I was angry.

Fear and anger matter. Maybe they matter most?

People all over the world are scared right now. And angry. Scared and angry that those who hold power will deny us rights and opportunities; will demonize us; will drain our bank accounts while filling theirs. And if we don’t find ways to verbalise and utilise our fear and anger, then our fears will come true.

But it can’t just be at a protest. It doesn’t have to be at a protest. And it musn’t just be about Trump or Zuma or Brexit. It must also be about your community, your school, your children. The things that matter most to you.

Not being quiet means talking, not just shouting. Talking to the ones you love and also to the ones you’ve never known.

We can no longer be quiet. But we also can no longer just keep talking to people who share our worldview. White ladies can’t just keep talking to white ladies, young to young, liberal to liberal. When our Talk takes us across personal or social barriers, it begins to transform us. It begins to release our fear and anger

So hold a placard, please, if it helps you. Or hold a conversation. With your partner or Boss or even with someone who doesn’t look like you. Both matter. Both help us step into our emotion; both are a step away from silence.

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