by Ashley Roberts
...comes through raising one's voice, speaking truth, telling others they are not alone.
Hope comes through shining a light into darkness.
Hope comes from forging a path and showing others where to go.
Hope comes from being a listening ear, a soft shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold when you're doubting or scared or angry or just need a friend.
Hope comes from giving a voice to all aspects of our world, of our community, even if that may be painful for some to hear, it is necessary to shed truth, to shed light, to end the darkness, and to create a pathway to change.
...comes through knowing there is a path forward, that one does exist, even if change is not simple, even if change must be fought for, even if change will be for the next generation instead of our own.
Faith comes from knowing that change is possible, even if the odds seem insurmountable.
...comes from reaching out one's hand to another and offering guidance, and if not guidance than companionship on the road.
...comes from throwing oneself into the fray and demanding change. Determination means being a companion on the road to change.
...means forcing someone to acquiesce to your point of view, your agenda, your desires regardless of whether or not you believe in that POV, agenda, or desire.
...means taking intimidation to a level where a person is genuinely afraid for their wellbeing whether physical or mental, if they do not acquiesce to your will.
Bullying is fear driven, is a sign of weakness, is an unwillingness to accept that there may be another truth, another reality, another idea, another way.
...is serving an agenda not one's own because it's what they were taught to believe and refuse to explore other possible ideas, ideals, thoughts, ways, etc.
...means many things.
Maybe silence is the result of trauma that cannot be spoken or shared. Maybe silence is the result of intimidation and having been bullied.
Maybe silence is necessary to protect oneself from further harm.
...means that one keeps standing, even if that isn't the easy thing to do.
...doesn't mean one isn't afraid, it means that even when one is afraid one still uses their voice, their presence to seek and find change.
...means standing tall over and over and over and over again despite the odds, despite the words, despite the intimidation and bullying, and holding true to one's self, one's beliefs, one's passion, one's determination despite every literal and figurative obstacle.
...comes through never giving up.
Change comes through a wide variety of voices, experiences, backgrounds, perspectives, tactics, beliefs.
Change comes from an open heart and a willingness to accept that there is a different way.
Change comes from shattering beliefs, taking a different course, charting a new path.
Change comes from courage, born of hope and pain, born of the idea of a better future, a better way of being, of existing.
Change comes from equity and inclusion.
Change is brave and terrifying, but vital.
Hope leads to change.
Join me in hope.