I’m finding it very hard these days to keep up with all of the movements and issues that seem to be in our news. I think that that we are at such a raised level of awareness that it’s overwhelming. Each one of these seems to be creating a new wave of support, a new cause. I can’t decide whether there’s actually more things going on or if we just have an increased awareness of all of them.
After watching Kesha’s performance at the Grammy’s, it made me wonder why some of these people and some of these circumstances resonate more than others. What makes ONE voice, one statement, or one action take off when others don’t? How does timing fit in? None of these things are new. There are millions of us that have things to say, concerns to voice, or causes to champion. Social media is an ever-changing collection of opinions and statements on everything from the mundane to the critical. What makes the difference between a comment that we just read and pass by to one that takes over and becomes a movement? All of these causes are legitimate and many have been around for years and even decades; so why are they getting attention NOW?
We seem to have become a country of people that are automatically inclined to be doubtful, to feel that we’re not being listened to and to feel that we need to fight for what we want. Another valid concern is that many of these issues (inequality and bias) have been around forever and have not been adequately addressed. Any new trigger is enough to re-start the conversation because it’s never been resolved. I think we’re all just so frustrated and discouraged that we’re rising up and fighting back at every opportunity that we’re given.
Still, it doesn’t explain the popularity of one and not another. Black Lives Matter has been around for a long time in an effort to raise awareness to the inequities in treatment between races. Colin Kaepernick had been silently protesting for months before it turned into a huge controversy involving the president, followed by the NFL and people at large. What was it that caused the attention to roll back on him later instead of immediately? Kesha had been battling her abuse allegations for over a decade and came to attention a few years ago and was dismissed. It’s just now that she is being praised for her courage and voice on the issues. Women’s issues and sexual harassment are finally getting the attention they deserve as well, being spurred on by #MeToo and #TimesUp, but which event, comment, or action spurred these movements?
Looking at some of these more recent movements leads me to believe that a lot of different elements can contribute to the amplification of an issue. It can be the political climate, media attention, timing, and how people identify to either the cause or the person speaking out. The thing is, none of these are new issues; many have been with us since the beginning of time. What’s going to change? Are any of these big movements going to change anything? I sure hope so! At the very least, it raises awareness to the problem, it can give people a platform to speak out, to learn more, to volunteer or provide resources to advance the cause. It allows us an opportunity to be part of the solution. At the very least, it gives us a chance to share and identify with other people which, I think, is a huge start to effective change.
It’s not always up to a star or an athlete to carry that burden, but rather it’s each and every one of us that needs to lead and speak up. We don’t know whose message it is that will be listened to, who will make a difference to somebody else, and who will create change. It could be yours and it could change our world, so don’t be afraid to use your voice!