THE THING ABOUT CHAMPIONING A CAUSE

Around the time my oldest was a year old, we started going to the local animal shelter every week or so. We would often take a dog out for a walk, and sometimes spend a few hours going from kennel to kennel so she could pet and chat with each one

I remember briefly mentioning one of our visits in a conversation, to which the person I was talking with responded, "I could never do anything to rescue an animal when there are still starving, orphaned children in the world."

Okay, yeah. That makes sense. Except, it doesn't.

Choosing to have compassion towards animals does not automatically pit one against the needs of humanity. I mean, really.

The idea that prefacing my story with the fact that I do, indeed, support a feeding program and clean water efforts in a developing country might have made my service at the shelter justifiable is almost ludicrous.

It hints at a mentality that getting behind a cause is the be all and end all as far as activism goes; that you are somehow against whatever it is you're not actively supporting and you couldn't possibly believe in or advocate for anything else.

That's not how it goes.

Among other causes, I support the Black Lives Matter movement. I do not hesitate to lend my voice, my time, my energy to eradicate systemic racism. Fighting for equality is the side I want to stand on with everything I have.

That does not mean I am against law enforcement. There are wonderful police officers who serve their communities diligently and uphold the law without abusing the power they are entrusted with. A fight for accountability and equality in no way renders their lives meaningless.

It seems ridiculous that I have to say that.  Do you know what else is ridiculous? The push back I get that, "Okay, you support this movement, but what about black lives being taken by other black lives? Where is the outrage over that? What are you going to do to fix that?"

And that's valid, because being an activist means you are responsible for tying up every single loose end, and wrapping it all up in the tidiest damn package you can, because then, and only then, will your efforts in supporting a cause close to your heart have the least bit of merit.

Please.

Drugs. Violence. Poverty. Gun control. Mental Health. Education reform. I could go on. There is so much that can be done with these issues. There is much that is being done already. Choosing to support another movement does not, in any way, take away from that.

Expecting me to back down from one cause that you are aware that I support until others are addressed, well...

That's like standing at the finish line of a 5k to support Multiple Sclerosis and saying, "But why aren't you running for Fibromyalgia?"

It's like gathering up every pink product that donates proceeds to the Susan G. Komen foundation and asking, "But why not prostate cancer? Why not heart disease? Why not diabetes?"

It's okay to support a cause that speaks to you. It's okay to support several. It's okay to pour everything you have into it, knowing full well that for every one thing you do, there are at least a dozen things that you, personally, are not getting to.

But.

That one thing you're doing? Your voice. Your energy. Your effort. It is moving one step closer to peace. It's one more witness of the goodness of humanity. It's one more step closer to equality. It is making a difference and, no matter how small, it's still bigger than the difference made by not doing anything.

Jason sent this to me. The words, "nailed it," come to mind.




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