Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Matador Network.
America’s political and cultural landscapes are about to change in a drastic manner. The incoming new president of the supposedly most powerful nation in the world is set to initiate his leadership position in a matter of days. The very thought of it reignites my belief even more strongly than ever before in the importance of the role that writers, bloggers, creators, artists, musicians and all other sorts of dreamers play in advocating for diversity, multiculturalism, and globalization.
I’m not going to lie. I’m scared for the future of America and anxious as to how dialogues and human interactions will go from here. Even the liberal nature of my locality, which happens to be the D.C. metro area, is ineffectively able to pacify my fears, so much so, that I get the nagging feeling that being apathetic is no longer a choice. In fact, in a place where marches, rallies, and movements are common occurrences, my tendency to shy away from these events as they come to my area no longer feels okay. There’s guilt deeply seated within me ready to consume all of me for any future rallies that I avoid with no justifiable excuse.
I’m not saying we all should hold hands and sing, “Kumbaya.” Doing that will not create change unless we utilize our voices more effectively in our respective mediums. The next four years will likely bring tremendous change in people’s mentality about human rights, globalization, diversity, travels, and everything in between which in essence touches upon the very nature of our humanity – that of love and respect towards one another.
If you have a voice, which we all do, then now is the time to speak up. If you believe in the value of diversity in our society, then it’s time to incorporate that in your business, your publications, your personal dialogues with friends and strangers, your film projects, your artwork, your music, your blog, your travels and everything else in between. Silence is only acceptable for self-reflection and to further tap into internal inspiration. Other than that, to be silent on such issues is to be deliberately reckless and egregious as a human being which would utterly be detrimental to the human race, if we seriously hope to instill and advance mutual respect towards one another despite our differences.
I say all this to assert that now there’s a new form of guilt to contend with – one in which our inner being compels us to leave a critical mark and legacy in the advancement of human rights whether within America or beyond. So, as non-politicians and regular individuals, what can we do about it?
If reading books and articles on human rights are too dry of a reading for you, then there are simpler avenues for you to take to educate yourself and others. For one, travel outside the U.S. more. Talk, or better yet, write about your adventures in Pakistan or Iran so the world can be less judgmental of certain ethnic groups and refrain from labeling them as terrorists. Blog about the beauty of human interactions in remote countries that are predominantly of Muslim faith. Take photos of the wonderful human connections you managed to develop. Let your photos depict the innate goodness of people from any parts of the globe. Create art or music that sends out a positive message on inclusivity. Collaborate with diverse individuals to advance your business enterprise. Artists, musicians, storytellers, dreamers, entrepreneurs, writers, bloggers, and whatever voice you may have at your disposal — we all have a place in this movement. In fact, we have an important role to play and this is our time rise to the occasion to perform our very best.
At this juncture, we can’t afford to overlook any opportunity to grow as individuals and to go beyond our prejudices as so much of humanity is, and will be at stake for the years to come. There’s no room for apathy. Silence will only make it all worse. When apathy lures you, reject it, and focus all your energy to summon that part of you that values change, progress and humanity. Your role as a human being is now much more critical than ever before.
When it comes to humanity, it’s either you effect change to advance it or you subconsciously join the silent movement to destroy it. We all have that decision to make, whether we like it or not. What will it be for you?