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On Social Media Activism. ( The Evolution Series )

I’ve hesitated to write this blog post, taking time to make sure that I’m speaking with truth to my experience. I often keep my opinions to myself when it comes to the world or other people on social media. I prefer to do my best to speak with wisdom and thoughtfulness whenever possible, particularly, if I’m unsure of the impact my words may have. However, I’ve set aside this series as a way of exploring myself and my thoughts as they develop. The challenge I’ve given myself is to write about the most transformative thing I’m experiencing at that moment and well, this week, it’s this. So, here we go.

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Our country is hurting. People are hurting. There are heartbreaking tragedies displayed across our computer screens on a daily basis and it’s fueling the fire of a movement that I believe we need deeply. Social media is a loud place filled with impulsive statements and harsh critique. I prefer to find my voice in times of grief before vocalizing. I prefer to remain informed and educated and balanced. I have come to understand my role in the movement. It’s a support to those in my life and a kind but challenging voice to those that are on the fence. It’s a belief that all people ultimately want the best for each other and that it often takes only a meeting with someone who can calmly discuss these issues to push them to the side of justice.

In no way do I think you should be less angry. In no way do I think you should adopt my philosophy of being. There’s room for all of us, there’s a need for all of us. Keep pushing in your way. Keep fighting in your way. MOVE this country and change the policies that are so entrenched with hate and bias. We all must do our part, but, DO NOT tell me to sit down and shut up. Do not tell me to look like you. Do not tell me that activism has one cloak and if it is not the one that you wear than it isn’t enough. DO NOT hide behind your computer and your tumblr accounts re-posting memes and tell me to do more. Ask yourself if you are doing enough and ask yourself again and I will do the same.

I’m not silent out of apathy. I’m not silent at all. My stillness on social media is no indication of my rage for the injustice that I see on a regular basis. I am simply too aware of my voice. Too aware of the impact that frivolous words can have on the movement and it must remain my right to choose when I speak. By all means challenge me, by all means question my silence. However, respect my right to maintain it.

I’m not moderate in my anger. I’m not moderate in the outrage that I have for mass incarceration or the bodies of innocent unarmed people. But, I will choose to ground myself in wisdom and to do that we must see both sides. To change the mind of the oppressor we must first believe that somewhere in there, they are good enough people to want to change. And I do believe they are. Please stop forcing them to dig their stakes deeper into their beliefs just to prove to you that there’s something of value there to tie themselves to. Please stop telling seasoned voices with years of experience in creating real change to sit down and shut up because they choose to be respectful of their enemies. Because they grieve with the loss of innocent lives no matter their race or profession.

Protest. Discuss. Move. Create real change.

But, consider the impact you’re having. Leave your tumblr rhetoric at home and look at humanity with nuance and conflict. At the very least, ask yourself why you’re pushing the ‘share’ button. Is it to feel like you are a better person? Is it shame a group of people? Is it to spread hate and create division?  OR  Is it because you believe it will aid positively to the movement, bring awareness or create a positive and productive conversation? At the end of the day we have to be our own judge and jury. We must be able to stand behind the decisions we make in our lives and even on social media.

with so much love,

Cheri Pomraning-Dobbins Allegood - July 14, 2016 - 7:52 pm

Love. Respect. Speak.

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