In a month like this, it’s easy to despair. The combination of tragedy after tragedy and government dysfunction is grim. Black elders slaughtered while shopping for groceries. Young children and teachers mowed down in their own classroom. Political attacks on women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and the climate.
Rather than promoting the aims laid out in the Constitution—a more perfect Union, Justice, domestic Tranquility, common defence, the general Welfare, and the Blessings of Liberty—our government at best seems to do nothing and at worst chips away at our rights. We appear to be slipping ever closer towards a dystopian society.
And yet I don’t despair. My work with children offers an antidote. The young activists in my Justice Squad groups inspire me with their passion and their can-do attitude. They believe that they have the power to change society, and so they take action. Currently, they are crafting a petition in defense of students’ right to learn about race, gender, and sexual orientation; raising money so that adults can fight for these rights; and creating a website filled with powerful calls to action.
When my jaded adult mind doubts the efficacy of their actions, my heart reminds me that these loving and impassioned young people will become ever more capable and powerful as they grow up. Learning to be activists at 8, 9, and 10, what might they be capable of at 15, 18, or 25?
“As long as we have breath in our lungs, we have to fight for justice,” writes anti-racist educator Tiffany Jewell. “When you are silent absolutely nothing changes.”
So let's learn from the children’s example. Rather than giving into despair, rather than shutting down or turning away, let’s turn towards action.
While the sheer number of issues that feel like they need our attention can be overwhelming, we can each choose one thing, and do something.
Better yet, do something with the children in your life. Wondering how to do that? Read what I wrote here about taking action with children or this blog post about raising your child to be an activist.