As I have watched the world news over the last few months, feelings of anger, disbelief and a profound sadness quickly surface: an incredulity at where we find ourselves in society. There has been a recent shift from thoughtful, eloquent and inspiring to reactionary, rash and rude. As a lover of words, I have found this more than a little disturbing.
On Saturday – for the first time in many months – I watched the news and felt strengthened by humanity. I saw hope in the unity of people across the world.
We teach our students not to be bullies. We also teach them not to be bystanders when they see an injustice. To do something. To say something. Yesterday, more than a million people worldwide showed they will not be bystanders. They will not tolerate racism, bigotry or an abuse of power. They will stand together for what is right and just. I stand with them.
Whether the bully is 9 or 70, we cannot be bystanders. Words are powerful. Theirs and ours. I will use mine to defend those without a voice. I will use mine to show solidarity to all those who find themselves on the receiving end of intolerance and abuse. I will use mine to echo those of Martin Luther King Jr: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Where do you stand?