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Voices in the Dark

May 2, 2017

Ho, ho, hey, hey, the EPA has got to stay!

 

On Saturday, April 22, thousands of people in cities all over the world marched for science. The aerial footage of these marches show a massive swell of people devoted to facts, evidence, the scientific method, and protecting our Earth. It was the third major march in 2017, after the Women’s March and the Tax March, indicating that there just might be a social-political movement with some staying power developing.

Allyship

 

Here’s the thing. I’m not a scientist. I loved chem and bio classes in high school, but my heart and soul is the humanities. But I live in this world, on this planet, benefiting from science every day. So, while I advocate for funding for the arts by routinely calling my elected representatives, I also call about protecting scientific research and the environment. And I hope that my scientist friends call about arts funding.

 

What we need now, during a time when fake news and “alternative facts” are commonplace words and minority communities feel under attack, is allyship. We need humanities and science people supporting each other’s fields. We need white people showing up at #BlackLivesMatter rallies. We need to say that LGBTQ rights are immigrant rights and then do something about it.

 

Taking Action

 

What does all of this have to do with writing, with publishing? Well, it’s all about finding your voice and listening to the voices of others. We read to find characters and situations we identify with, but also because we are in search of those we don’t. Literature expands our minds and increases our empathy. I’m not a doctor, but I love reading about them, and I always have newfound respect for them after I read a novel in which a doctor saves the day (or doesn’t, and has to grapple with that failure). I’m white, but I purposely seek out books written by and about people who aren’t.

 

Reading and writing are political actions, whether we take the time to consider them that way or not. So, if you pick up the phone and call your elected officials, or you march in the streets, or you’re an introvert who stays at home and reads (but then leaves your house to vote), you’re taking action.

 

Take action every day. Recognize it when you do. Feel part of something bigger than yourself—a political movement or a fantasy world from your favorite writer. And enjoy the music of the voices you hear.

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