• Stephanie LaBonte

Take A Stand, or Stand For Nothing

“If you don’t stand for something, then you’ll fall for anything.” -Alexander Hamilton

I’ve seen comments about protests, rioting and looting, and I can’t help but think, just because it is not convenient for you, that’s why it’s ‘wrong’? Voices over decades, no centuries, have been speaking the same truth, a truth of injustice and a system built for oppression. We have not been listening. When you have been generationally held down, lives not cared for, countless cases of racism, segregation, injustice, how much should one endure before they snap? Has it not been enough?

Whenever I feel upset or angry about a situation, I turn to literature. I find knowledge and insight into humanity within the pages of books, letters, documents and speeches. I read this excerpt last night and thought I would share because it has made me see so clearly. Maybe these words will help give some insight into the situation today.

“How long must the Negro ‘wait’? Is this finally a more ‘convenient season’?”

This was written in 1963, and yet the same narrative continues. There needs to be conflict and justice for systemic change. Yes, the police officer was arrested in this case, but will justice be served? Historically and unfortunately, the answer is no. You can read all about cases and incidents here.

The Letter from Birmingham Jail is one of the most eloquent and beautifully written pieces I have been given the privilege to teach year after year in my classes. I am a teacher. My heart hurts for my black and hispanic friends, students and their families. They deserve better and their lives DO matter. I know because I teach them, love them and joyfully watch them turn into wonderful adults. Yes, there are some who cannot be saved, but can we not say the same for any culture? I encourage discourse on the subject, but only the kind that will move us forward. Racist comments, hateful language, blaming, shaming, ignorance on the subject etc. will not be permitted. Read the Letter from Birmingham Jail here.

I implore you read, find resources, talk to POC and educate yourself on the subject. There is always more to learn and it is your right to attain a free and extensive education always. Here is a link to a document, Here, with resources for you (this is not my document- but has excellent information).

Should you want to put your dollars towards this and support systemic change, please drop links to where donations should go. Together we can choose to see this with love, compassion and empathy and take action, or we could stay silent and have this keep happening over and over. Below is an excerpt from “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr. Please read. Please educate. Please take a stand.

“ I MUST make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councillor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time; and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

In your statement you asserted that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But can this assertion be logically made? Isn't this like condemning the robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn't this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical delvings precipitated the misguided popular mind to make him drink the hemlock? Isn't this like condemning Jesus because His unique God-consciousness and never-ceasing devotion to His will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see, as federal courts have consistently affirmed, that it is immoral to urge an individual to withdraw his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest precipitates violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber.”

With So Much Love,


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