Here we are. The first day of 2017. We are in a world seared by war, racism, fear, and indifference. We, as writers, teachers, and citizens, must make this the Year of Speaking Up. In the United States, we have elected a president who demeans women and minorities, who mocks handicapped people, who threatens a return to torture, even to going after the families of “enemies.” We have elected a president who cares little for facts, honesty, human decency.
This is not a matter of partisanship. This is not “My side lost the election” pouting. The new president is not someone I simply disagree with on policy. He plays on Americans’ fears. He appeals to our worst instincts: to exclude, to ridicule, to taunt, to destroy. He encourages violence and fact-free thinking. These are going to be difficult days.
So, I commit, in the spirit of James Baldwin, to speak up. I commit to use my pen, my computer, my phone, my poems, my voice — to speak up for those this president demeans. I will call members of Congress. I will protest. I will, as we say, “Dust off my protest boots.” I will not not normalize his cruelty, especially his cruel uses of our language.
Join me. Every act of truth-telling matters. Every voice matters.
Consider supporting these groups with your time, talent, and resources. I will.