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The unpaid job of the American people: fighting for change

Jan. 5, 2018
Avatar zoe allen writer.jpg2c676fc9 2a4a 48cb a392 f278501604bf

The United States of America was founded on protests. The colonists did not secede from the British or win a war simply by standing idly by—no, they tossed tea, picked up their muskets, wrote tirelessly, and spread their message of liberty and justice for all.  

Now, under that mantra of “liberty and justice for all”, many people who choose to spread their message, protest what they believe to be unjust, and share their voice are told to stop—that to speak up is unpatriotic, disrespectful or hateful. They are told to “just shut up and do your job.” 

Athletes and celebrities who use their platform to take a stance on issues are told to go back to doing what they’re famous for, whether that’s throwing a football, making people laugh, or posing on magazine covers. People are told to stick to what they know and, if they want to keep making money, to keep their mouths shut. If you want to keep your job, no stance is a good stance. If you were sexually assaulted at work, keep your lips sealed, otherwise you will be jobless before you can say “Harvey Weinstein”. 

If you take a knee on the sidelines, an entire league will blackball you. If you tweet your opinions, you won’t get into college. If you stick up for what you believe in, you become undateable ("too liberal"; "too smart"). 

via: Gerry Melende

I believe that this reaction is anti-American to its core. As Americans, it is our obligation to speak up and protest—in fact, such things are protected under the First Amendment. Our job is to attempt to improve our country, fix the problems that we see, and take a stand for what is good and fair.  

Asking for change and protesting bigotry is not a job that is left to a certain group of people. It is not up to our lawmakers and politicians to instill revolution; it is up to us, the people, to drive social change. 

I have been given a platform to speak my truths, share my voice, ask for change, pose questions, and challenge what I believe to be unfair. I will not let this platform go unused, and just like it is Colin Kaepernick’s right to kneel during the National Anthem, it is my right to speak my words into the world with conviction. Through writing, I will protest the evils of the world and battle against hatred. 

It is with words and actions that people create change, not with silence and passiveness. Speaking up for what is right might not be a job in the traditional sense, but it is a responsibility.