I read a lot of articles. I watch John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” – the free feature edition – on YouTube. I consume NextDraft and share articles that strike a nerve on Twitter and Facebook. I hope the sharing enlightens some folks. I like and follow progressive accounts on social media. I show my friends I’m “Interested” in some events. I retweet activist posts. I share good stories from The Advocates for Human Rights, feminist groups, investigative reporters, and other groups.
However, I rarely DO anything.
Until recently, I had not marched. I had not attended a protest or a rally. I had not taken part in Pride. I had not spoken with my kids about difficult topics often enough. I had not reached out to friends I knew I had hurt or I could learn from. I had not completely acknowledged and taken accountability for my own bad behavior.
In short, I had not been an ally.
Then, I decided to change. I decided to take action and not make excuses. I don’t know if it’s helping anyone else, but it is certainly helping me. I am learning more about the things I thought I knew enough about. I am learning how to listen. I am learning how to be a better ally.
Rather than consuming article after article and sitting in a chair stewing over the latest John Oliver feature, I decided to take action. Equality Texas held a rally to protest and support different bills in the Texas legislature a few months ago. I made a decision to go. To take part. To learn. It was an excellent experience. While we may not have won all the battles (if “winning” is even the right term here), but we demonstrated, we put some political staff on the spot and made them answer difficult questions, and we showed people who are being discriminated against that they had allies.
This weekend, I attended my first Pride event. I marched with the ACLU of Texas in Houston’s Pride Parade. I met beautiful people. I cheered. They cheered. We carried signs. We gave people a voice. We showed people they have allies. We took action.
I encourage you to do the same. It’s so much more rewarding to do something for the people or a cause you support, rather than share an article or like a post. It’s going to take a lot of us taking a lot of action to get us out of our current state of existence in this country and across this planet. People need our help.
I am reminded of this quote I shared last year:
“I slept and dreamt life was joy.bilaliism
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.”
Finding your joy through service and action will certainly bring joy to someone else who desperately needs and deserves it.
Peace and love, y’all.