“To change our culture, we have to have difficult conversations across differences with lots of love..Knowing how to have those conversation[s] is just the beginning of changing systems of oppression.” –Laverne Cox–
Several years ago, my sister and I went to listen to Laverne Cox speak at the University of North Texas (UNT). Both she and I consider ourselves to be advocates, allies, and (of course) huge fans of her show, Orange is the New Black. It was amazing to listen and to become so absorbed in Laverne Cox’s story and how she is using her platform to create positive change in our society.
I wish I would have had the opportunity and the foresight to record her speech. It was motivational, inspirational, and authentic. If I had the ability, I would play it daily so I could have a constant reminder of her message and spirit.
I made two notes while listening, both quotes I feel everyone should hear. 1) “Empathy is the antidote to shame.” and 2) “To change our culture, we have to have difficult conversations across differences with lots of love..Knowing how to have those conversation[s] is just the beginning of changing systems of oppression.”
Just one week after the tragic massacre in Orlando, I encourage everyone to keep those words close to their hearts. In the days following the shooting, I found myself avoiding reading opinion pieces on news outlets and commentary on social media. The hatred that resulted and continues to spew from behind keyboards leaves me baffled and concerned.
The amount of hatred and xenophobia in our society is ridiculous.
What we need right now is lots of love.
What we need right now is to have those difficult conversations, and while doing so, approach our fellow humans with dignity, respect, empathy, compassion, and (did I mention?) lots of love.
Call to Action
- How can we be allies if we are not listening to the diverse stories of marginalized populations? I encourage you to be silent and to allow yourself to use the time to actively listen and to learn. Have those difficult conversations. Soak it all in. Grow.
- Get out there and share the love. Each of you have your own unique sets of talents and gifts. Whatever it is that you do, do it with love.
- If you are talented poet or artist, you might consider helping this 6-year-old with her cause. Madison Lindsay is sending homemade cards to the survivors of the shooting, family members of the victims, police officers, nurses, and others affected by the nightclub shooting. You can contribute cards by sending them to Sharing Smiles PO Box 560566 Orlando, FL 32856.
- You can also send messages of hope to survivors and victims’ families online here.
- Give blood. To find a donation site near you, check out oneblood.org.
How are you spreading the message of love in your community? Join the conversation by commenting below.
Be the change,