Feel too scared to speak up? Maybe you don’t have the words. Regardless – we need you. Here’s how you can help
Sometimes we’re not sure what to say or do;
Sometimes we’re scared we’ll say the wrong thing or offend someone;
Sometimes we just don’t have the words;
Sometimes we feel like we’ve got nothing to offer cos we’re not part of the groups being singled out;
Sometimes we stuff up or cop criticism and vow never to venture into the spaces of equality and justice again.
If any of this applies to you, you’re not alone. You don’t get a Hall-Pass though. Silence and inaction isn’t okay.
Hate crimes are on the rise since the USA Election.
Children, families, and communities are being viciously targetted because of their race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender identity, sexuality, disabilities, and…..
They’re frightened and facing an uncertain future – with a President and party that has control of all levels of government.
This is a President and party whose currency is bigotry. A President and party who are hell-bent on sowing the seeds of division, and destroying any progress made in the name of social justice.
In respect to my country, the United Nations “….has found that Australia’s asylum seeking policies violate the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.”
The Safe Schools Program which aims to make school safer and more welcoming for same-sex attracted and gender diverse students (in Australia) has been gutted by our Federal Government, and numerous members of our Federal Government attack, smear, and peddle myths about LGBTIQ communities.
Then there’s the bigotry towards Muslims, the lack of gender equity within the government, the lack of a bipartisan, indigenous driven approach to their communities health and well being. I could go on and on. It feels like like we’ve stepped back many decades – in respect to social justice – at a Federal level.
There’s a lot at stake here. So even if you’re wary of speaking up, it’s critical that you play some sort of part. Here’s some suggestions:
Read, View and Listen – Widely
Dare to read, view, and listen beyond what’s familiar and comfy to you. Tap into the many insightful artists, performers, writers, bloggers, podcasters sharing tips, insights, and strategies – as well as their personal experiences on the social justice front.
Be on the alert. Some will likely be in your classroom, in your school, or local community. Some will be much further away. Regardless, you can support them, their community and their voice/s.
Amplify the Voices of Those Speaking Up About Social Justice Issues
Help spread their ideas and reach a much wider audience by:
- Sharing their work – along with their websites, blogs, podcasts, and other creations;
- Personally recommending their work or creations to your friends and colleagues;
- Reaching out and thanking them, or writing a note or comment to them.
- It can sometimes be lonely on the social justice front. Just knowing someone else appreciates our work can mean so much.
- Making space for their voices and creations – within your curriculum, newsletters, websites, podcasts, twitter chats….. AND actively promoting and supporting them in such spaces.
Unsure Where to Start? Here’s Inspiration
Check out my Social Justice Resource Page – filled with educators who are pushing the edge for social justice in education, as well as insightful websites.
Listen to my podcast, Pushing The Edge with Greg Curran. I speak to educators who fire me up, fuelling my passion for social justice in education.
Responding to Hate and Bias at School – Teaching Tolerance (Southern Poverty Law Centre): This detailed document provides a whole of school approach – for before, during and after hate crises.
Sixteen writers on Trump’s America – The New Yorker: Powerful, insightful, and provocative writing.
Autocracy: Rules for Survival – Masha Gessen: Masha Gessen has lived under autocratic governments. She provides extremely useful and timely advice and warnings.
The urge of intersectionality by Kimberle Crenshaw: Heard the word ‘intersectionality’ but unsure what it means. Watch this video to find out.
20 Writers of Color Share Their Favourite Poems: Looking to stretch your comfort zone, here’s a great place to start.
13 Micro-aggressions People with a Disability Face on a Daily Basis by Wendy Lu. Also check out the writing/tweets of Alice Wong.
I regularly turn to the people listed above for ideas and insights but mostly because they’re gutsy, passionate, and daring. They’re determined to make this world a more socially just place.