Feminist Mantra Monday 8: Speak Out
This weekend while I was drinking my morning coffee and staring out at the snow in the warm comfort of my apartment, tens of thousands of people were trapped in the middle of a battle zone desperately waiting (hoping) to be evacuated. Those that did escape are traveling to new countries with little to nothing and arriving to find conditions that may not be war zones but are hostile in their own ways, with citizens and governments refusing to give support or kindness or care to their new residents.
Our own president-elect retweeted this fucking picture about the refugee and immigration crisis. Can you imagine being trapped in abandoned buildings, watching family members die, desperately hoping to survive, losing hope, miraculously making your way out, and then traveling to a country where the leader has reduced your reality to a poorly drawn political cartoon that mocks you and refuses you entry? It's INFURIATING.
I know that crises happen around the world daily. And I know that there is need in my local community to address. BUT THAT IS NO REASON TO IGNORE what many are calling a genocide. Yes, Syria may be "far away," but if we live in a world where we can order earbuds from China with two-day shipping, then we live in a world where we can pay attention to and care about what is happening in Syria.
So, what can you do? This piece on Feministing has a lot of helpful advice on how to donate, educate, and volunteer your time. And The International Rescue Commission is soliciting donations that can immediately aid refugees.
You can be certain that every one on my holiday gift list is getting a $10+ donation to the IRC in their name AND a conversation about the realities of the Syrian refugee crisis and why we (as Americans, particularly white Americans as many of my friends and family members are) have to help.
This second step is crucial. It's why this week's feminist mantra is "Speak out." Conversations create awareness and community and, eventually, response. You can educate yourself and then educate those around you.
You don't have to live in a white-washed, nationalist bubble, and you don't have to let your friends and family do so either. I don't care if that makes people around me feel like I'm annoyingly #woke and in their face about it all the time. As a middle-class, white woman in the United States with a stable job and passable health insurance and all of my other privileges, I can give up some of my social niceties and annoy some people to speak out about injustice. It's important, and it's the very least that I can do.
So how can you help this week, friends? What can you speak out about? Aleppo is important, but there are so many other causes that need voices as well. Find your voice. Find your cause. Speak out.