” The call to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak “
– Martin Luther King Jr.
The news of the latest school shooting has hit me hard.
I debated writing this post.
When it comes to this platform, I generally advise contributors to steer clear of political posts because, ultimately this isn’t a political blog , and nobody needs more online drama. Those conversations tend to be polarizing in the internet landscape, and our goal here is always to be as inclusive as possible. But in light of the Parkland shootings I am posting. Call it politics, or don’t, but I just couldn’t stay silent.
I mean, is this politics? Is that what this is? Or is politics what helps keep me quiet, the word that helps me look away from the larger conversation about guns and schools. The word that allows me to declare I don’t know what to do because I’m not “political”.
I’m just a mom.
What right do I even have to speak on this at all? I’m just a mom. Yes, I went to college, and yes I vote and try to stay informed, but somewhere along the way I’ve grown accustomed to the feeling that my single voice isn’t powerful. So many causes and events I felt so passionately about when I was younger now all too often seem bigger than me; I’m just here with my laundry basket trying to raise little humans. And my guess is that happens to a lot of us, hence all the social media “love and prayers” (Not pointing fingers, I just typed it last night).
But today, for me, that’s not enough.
I’m just a mom.
Which in this case may make me qualified to speak after all. Because this is all of us. That woman, on the front page with ashes from Ash Wednesday still on her head, letting out a visceral cry. She is me. She is you.
The high school girl I saw on the Today show this morning, who was grazed by bullets and pulled herself together and wiped away tears after telling Hoda and Savannah of her best friend “she didn’t make it”–Those girls are our daughters. Injured and angels, those are our children.
So today is a new day and I will not be posting social media love and prayers. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Contrary to some of the posts I’ve seen, I think offering love is prayers is positive. It reminds us that we are not numb to this and particularly in certain seasons of motherhood that may be all you have to offer and that’s ok. Prayers are never wasted.
But let’s not fool ourselves, we are Parkland. If this can happen in a city recently ranked as the 15th safest city in America, well then it can happen anywhere. any. where. And this is nothing new. We’ve expressed the sentiment over and over, every time.
And it makes me sad, and angry, and tired. I’m just a tired mother. I’m tired of this. And I want to do more–to do SOMETHING. I’ve felt that way after every. single. one. of these and am still living with the reality that those feelings have not translated into enough action.
In case you feel compelled to act further, and like me aren’t even sure where to start, at the risk of alienating those of you who think this is purely a political fight I’m sharing some links that I’ve found helpful.
2. We can Text ACT to 644-33 to join the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America Movement
3. We can talk about this to our friends and neighbors. Feelings, fears, sharing your political views if you feel so inclined, just talk about it. Learning to engage in respectful and earnest dialog on issues we’re passionate about is not always easy, and we can start with the people closest to us. It’s #grassroots all the way.
4. Learn more about the Big Picture issue. We may be wading into politics here, but we’re smart women, and learning about the legislation and political landscape around gun control is empowering.
5. Get on the phone. Here’s an interesting link about why calling is actually more effective than email. So, call your Representative. How many times have you heard this and how many times have you actually called? I know I haven’t called enough. Remember, formal channels are different than social media–both can have a place, but let’s make sure we’re using both effectively. For most of us locally, FYI it’s Matt Gaetz and our Senators (Nelson, Rubio)
6. Stay The Course. Do it all again in a week, and in a month, and in 6 months. Do it for the other mothers who are so covered up in grief they can’t get out of bed today. Act. Speak. Repeat.
Perhaps part of the answer is to remember this feeling we’re having while it is raw. Let’s keep this feeling close, because I believe it is more than a feeling, it’s a calling.
So if you have that calling, that deep ache, that curiosity inside as to why this is happening and what in the world can we do–You are not alone. We are not alone. The solution is both insurmountably complex and painfully simple and it may take different forms for each of us. But please, let’s answer that calling.
Do something. Do something.
It’s a start. That’s all. I’m just a mom, after all.