When you experience something like Newtown did last December, you spend a lot of time hand-wringing, crying, frustrated, hoping somebody, someplace will take notice and do something. Someone with a voice, with power, with influence. Somebody capable of making a difference. Surely, this must change. Surely someone is doing something.
Tackling issues like gun violence that killed a classroom of kids here is so huge, all you see is the size of an immense, dark forest, and quickly lose sight of the trees. That’s how it’s been. Little tiny efforts that seem to make no difference, until they do.
Except I’m beginning to realize trees truly do matter. Even the smallest action can have ripple affects that create change. There is no action too small, no voice too weak to be heard.
Take for instance, the jackass Brookfield BOE member Greg Beck, who posted on Newtown’s 26 Acts of Kindness initiative that he would buy 26 boxes of ammunition for 26 friends. An angry Brookfield rose up and spoke up, each voice leading to another, and last Wednesday, Greg Beck resigned.
Take for instance, wearing an anti-gun violence t-shirt to a road race. Doesn’t sound brave, but this one act requires more guts than you can ever imagine, considered an act of defiance to our constitution by a very vocal, scary community not afraid to confront and challenge you. But then more quietly, someone says, “Nice shirt.” And then another. And another. And you run faster and lighter than ever before.
Take for instance, your kid wears his Newtown Lax jacket out-of-state for a rally to stop gun violence. And from the podium, a state representative mentions he saw a kid from across a parking lot wearing a Newtown Lacrosse coat, and moved to tears, he says for all to hear, he is more committed to do what he does than ever before.
Take for instance, writing an email to a representative and questioning his commitment to public safety. You may never get a response; you may never think it was read, until one day that congressman recognizes you and hugs you to thank you for taking the time to share your reality. Your voice was heard. Your words matter.
Go be heard. Now is not the time to go quietly into that good night, to be a good girl and accept what’s always been as always being. Now is not the time to hide behind the distance time affords us, and hope someone else does the job for you, because it is only you that can do this job.
You needn’t do a lot, but you must do something. This is my only resolution for 2014, and I hope you make it yours as well.