When to Speak Up and When to Listen Up

Now is the time, more than ever, to harness our voices for the betterment of our world.

Seeing the collective consciousness demanding positive transformation is inspiring- People all around the world are standing up against the systemic oppression of black people in the United States. As many of us know, none of this violence or oppression toward black people is new. The only changing factor is our organized and unified stance against this injustice. The changes that have been made since the beginning of the protests, sparked especially by the insensible murder of George Floyd, are proof that that our voices are capable of making a difference, but we still have more work to do.

There are so many ways to contribute to and support this movement, and even more movements to come in our quickly progressing society, whether it be by marching in the streets, donating to charities, speaking up (verbally or in writing), and even praying in sincerity.

Listen to black people

This is obvious to most of us, but before we speak on the Black Lives Matter Movement, the first and most important step toward helping is listening to black people. As much as White and non-black people of color can sympathize with their pain, we will never understand the reality that black people experience in this world, particularly the United States.

After educating ourselves, a great place to start helping the movement is by having conversations with our families and friends. A key part of conscious evolution is sharing new insights with one another, especially in times when it feels difficult to do so.

Many of us are afraid to talk about political and societal topics, particularly with our family and friends, and rightfully so. If we’re not careful, intense arguments can erupt, with no one having learned or gained anything of value.

After moving away to college and beginning my journey of self discovery, arguments erupted frequently with my family. I had a major lack of patience for others having opposing political and ethical opinions (Like, how dare they have their own mindsets? Ugh) and interrupted constantly to interject. Though I still may not agree with some of the beliefs that my loved ones have, I know that respectfully disagreeing with them makes more of a positive effect than speaking over them and refusing to listen.

Tips for having civil debates with loved ones:

Be concise.

One well thought out sentence can make more of an impact than a heated hour-long debate. Planting thought-seeds in the minds of others is one of the most powerful things we can do. An outlook spoken simply can work like a seed in a garden. If a seed is planted well and watered, it will grow to be healthy and strong.

The way we present our viewpoints is vital. If we present an idea to someone in a way that shows that we’re irritated or impatient with them, they’ll be more focused on our tone of voice than the message.

Let others speak.

Leave room to listen. I know emotion and passion can overcome us, especially when it comes to the civil rights of human beings, but it’s sometimes best to be patient with those we disagree with. If the person we’re speaking with feels ignored, they likely won’t listen to the entirety of the argument. They’re more likely to listen to us if we take the time to listen to them as well. Intently listening to others during an argument also reveals the level of confidence we have in our own beliefs.

Acknowledge the points you agree and disagree with.

The reality is that most people are more likely to listen if their ego is fed. Solely focusing on the points we disagree with will quickly push them away. Listening closely to others also helps us find common ground to build upon in the conversation, even if it’s the most tiny detail.

If you’d like to learn more and find ways beyond talking with loved ones to support the Black Lives Matter Movement, the #BLM and #BlackLivesMatter hashtags on Instagram are great places to check for continual information on the movement.

Here are a few of the endless organizations to donate to regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, if you are able (Also be sure to check out local charities in your area):

June is Gay Pride month in the United States. These are a few national LGBTQ organizations to donate to (Also be sure to check out local charities in your area):