Thursday, October 23, 2014

Be loud

Be loud.

You can’t trust anyone else to remember that you have a voice. To care that you have a voice. Silence is seen as assent in today’s society, and even if it isn’t no one seems to remember the quiet person.

No, that’s not quite true. No one seems to remember the quiet woman. The quiet person of color. The quiet minority of any stripe. No matter what titles are attached to our names, no matter what work we’ve done, we will be forgotten by even the most well-meaning if we let ourselves. Because the world moves by those in power, and all their old instincts tell them that we are supposed to be quiet.

Don’t be quiet.

Speak up every single time you have something to say. You don’t have to shout, you don’t have to throw accusations, you don’t have to even be rude. But. You. Must. Speak. Up. When they have a meeting without you, step into it. When they try to make a decision without you, intrude on the conversation and tell them your opinion. Always make sure your name is counted, and you have gone on the record.

Force them, even if it’s only for a little while, to see you. To hear you.

They will be surprised to see you. You will hear it in their voices, see it in their faces. They had forgotten you were there. They may wish you weren’t there now.

But that doesn’t matter. You must walk into that room certain in the knowledge that this is your place. As if you had been told about the meeting. As if they are waiting for baited breath for what you have to say. Do not dare devalue your voice just because they do.

It may change nothing. In the immediate circumstance, it will probably change nothing. The world is still moved by people in power, and it is easy for them to forget we are here at all. Actually listening to us is another thing entirely.

But speak, even if no one is listening. Raise your voice, and every word you speak will be a testament that we are worth hearing. We are worth remembering. We deserve to be heard.

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