Please, speak up.

After listening to the news last week, I found myself infuriated. Again. It happens more and more these days. But neither the sting or shock of last week’s news have subsided.

I believe in the positive power of words but I also recognize the ugly side, too. Words can be used to hurt and humiliate. Words can be thrown about carelessly. They can be used maliciously and deliberately to insult, intimidate and divide.

Call me crazy, but when leaders use words, I want their words to uplift and unite, to provide hope and comfort in uncertain times, to inspire us to reach our potential, individually and as a collective. One of the reasons I admire leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama is that they were deliberate in the words they chose to say, recognizing their power.

Lately, it feels like years of effort to educate, unite and build bridges, have collapsed in mere seconds when words of ignorance and bigotry are spoken on a world stage. These words have the potential to cause others with similar beliefs to become emboldened. That thought terrifies me. Therefore, I can’t keep quiet. I feel like now, more than ever, we need to speak up. To use our voices for good. Barack Obama says this, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Monday, January 15th is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I leave the last words to him: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

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