Photo from Boston Globe
I choose sides.
I have always chosen sides. I have never felt like I had the luxury not to.
I take sides because in the fight for justice there is no sideline to stand on. Neutrality is a myth.
Many people will tell you that they want to stay positive, focus on the good and spend their energy uplifting.
I am down for that but I also know that I can not sit on the sideline when it comes to injustice. These issues have real life consequences and the impacts are severe.
School to Prison Pipeline
War on Drugs
Intimate Partner Violence
There is no sideline when the price for silence is a human dignity or human life.
There is no silence when we know that the value of a child’s life is determined by racial, economic, and social factors.
Our society will not be free until the most vulnerable people are able to access the resources and full human rights to live self-determined lives without fear, discrimination, or retaliation
That will never happen on its own.
That will only happen when people show up in the street and in the boardrooms. When rights are demanded via ballot boxes, policy and the dismantling of oppressive systems.
Choosing sides means:
Societal, institutional, and individual levels of analysis
Attention to historical legacies
Awareness of current issues
It means having a framework, not just an opinion. It means doing the work.
Choosing sides matters
Being neutral is being complicit.
Some may be quite vocal about a few issues, but remain neutral on subjects “outside their area.”
How many times have you deemed something “not your issue”?
That is not my kid’s school.
That is not our neighborhood.
I do not use public transportation so those cuts do not affect me.
I am not Muslim.
No one in my family is LGBTQIA+
They are all our issues. That is how real community works. You do not have to be an immigrant to care for immigrants. You do not have to be black to defend black lives.
In community we are not just called to speak out against injustice, to name it clearly and directly.
We are called to actively fight it.
The ability to be neutral comes from a place of privilege and power. Does neutrality maintain the dominant power situation?
Yeah, it does.
There is no sideline, there never has been.
We either all stand together to fight for our values and communities or we fail.
Let’s go get free together