To My Fellow Citizens: We Need Love, And We Need Change


By Jillian Stacia

The world has been a hard place lately.

Every time I sign on to Twitter or turn on the news, it feels like I’m bombarded with another tragedy. More bad news. More injustice. More hatred. More pain. More fear.

It’s overwhelming. The problems of this world are large and blaring and just too much. The pain. the grief, the confusion. It’s hard and intense and startling and frustrating. Why does this keep happening? How can so much horror exist in the world? In this country? 

I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m scared. I feel helpless, powerless, lost and afraid. I want to put down this heavy weight and focus on something else- anything else, because it all seems so pointless. It’d be so much easier to hide, to act like this isn’t happening. To put my fingers in my ears, shut my eyes, and actively choose to avoid the horror that continues to unfold around me.

It’s tempting to become numb to these terrible things, to choose not to participate. In a world filled with crime and rape and brutality and racism and sexism and horrible, horrible things, it’s natural to want to disengage. It’s so very tempting to give up hope.

But I can’t. And neither can you.

Because the moment we stop giving a shit, we are doomed. To quote Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, “the opposite of hate isn’t love, it’s indifference.”  It’s deciding that we no longer care enough to engage. It’s throwing our hands in the air and hoping for the best. It’s walking around blindly, accepting whatever is thrown at us with a shrug and a shake of the head and a “what is this world coming to?”

We have to do better. Because if we don’t start to care, if we don’t choose to passionately invest our time and energy and money and resources into solving these problems, they will never go away. They will just keep getting worse. They are not going to be solved by turning a blind eye and feigning indifference. This is not someone else’s problem. It’s ours. Pretending like it’s not happening is not only naive, it’s dangerous.

We have to act. We have to care. We have to feel these terrible and painful things and weep and cry and wonder why this is happening EVERY SINGLE TIME IT HAPPENS. We don’t get a free pass. We can’t ignore it or wish it away. We don’t have that luxury. It is our responsibility, both individually and collectively, to feel, to act, to rise up and demand more. From our government. From our country. From each other.

There are so many things we can do to help. Here is a link to specific action steps regarding the mass shooting in Orlando.

How we respond to tragedy speaks volumes about our character. We can choose to be brave and loving and kind, or we can choose indifference and fear and anger and hate. What happens next is up to us. We get to choose.

I urge you to go about your day with lightness and love and forgiveness and compassion. Be the person you wish to encounter. Spread the love you so desperately wish to receive. Go out and create goodness. The world needs more of it.

Most importantly, remain open to these painful things. Decide to hold space for them and honor them and let them change you. Make the hard choice, the brave choice, and engage with them, even when you don’t want to.

Don’t give up hope. Don’t turn a blind eye. Don’t opt out.  Don’t stop caring and feeling. We need you. We need your action and your love. Don’t give up.

Jillian is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. Apply to become a Contributing Writer by clicking HERE

{featured image via pexels}

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