What good can any person do?
For decades, I thought I was alone in my concern about increasing contempt in American politics and decreasing kindness in our communities. Observing these trends, I felt powerless. What could one person do to improve the integrity of our nation’s voting systems or the gaping chasm between the haves and have-nots?
After the 2016 election, I watched the chaos in disbelief, fearing this administration would fail to uphold the basic rights of every minority group.
But what could I do as just one person?
I asked myself this question long before 91,000 people subscribed to our Checklist, before we gained tens of thousands of followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and before over 50 amazing volunteers showed up to share their time and talents to create and share.
Back in November 2016, I was certain that speaking up would do no good, that it would change nothing, and that even to try was pointless.
But I spoke up anyway.
Taking a leap
Three years ago, when I wrote a “things to do” email to 30 friends, it was impassioned and clear (if not very pretty). And it went viral.
Today, AoCC advocates alongside communities this administration hurts the most. Our actions shine a light on what one person can do to increase equity in voting access, basic civil rights, and decency toward all our neighbors. Our team’s combined efforts reach hundreds of thousands of concerned Americans each month.
I’m glad I was wrong.
Speaking up matters because it allows others to find us. Speaking up allows those who care about the same things to unite with us. Just think of Greta Thunberg or the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. Their voices inspire us to advocate with them to address seemingly intractable problems. We wouldn’t have as much courage or clarity without them.
One voice speaking up becomes a light of inspiration to many others.
We may not be able to solve every issue. Even in the face of polarization and cynicism, there is still hope. We at AoCC choose to believe that a brighter future awaits us all. It will just take our voices—yours and mine—to get there.
Thank you for being here for the journey.
P.S. This week, in honor of the AoC Checklist’s third birthday, please join us in taking action: Americans of Conscience Checklist for the week of November 17, 2019.