Speak Up

Sometimes I find it amazing that Americans feel news issues are black and white as in I will get involved and try to make a difference or I won’t.  There is also the attitude of staying

Autism is so prevalent!

informed verses keeping oneself so busy that staying abreast as to what is going on in one’s country is not of interest. That attitude of total disinterest has exceptions when the issue has a direct effect on people. Then they manage to find the time and step up to the plate.  I would argue that many issues covered in the news that do not directly affect us indirectly do.  Therefore, individually or collectively as a group, we should pay attention and consider making a difference in some small way.   

Just recently, we all know the situation in Baltimore has created what the community feels warrants large protests in the street.  I was glad to see this mirrored in other cities.  What happens in one city can easily happen in others, even if there wasn't proof that it is already.  It was also refreshing to see how many white colored and other minorities joined in these walks, as they should. Prejudice and labeling is an insult to us all. Would these other races be as involved if the issue were not so highly publicized?  I don’t know the answer but I think it is worth contemplating.

I remember years ago when I had watched a television expose on sex trafficking. It followed prominent American men going to Thailand for services. In watching the show in my comfortable home in Nashville, Tennessee and seeing young girls around the age of 10-12 offering men blow jobs for a dollar or two for food while they lived in horrid conditions, my mind was blown away. Hearing about this topic is one thing, seeing it in action is another thing. It is so abhorrent I felt compelled to do something.

I went to work the next day and told several women I worked with about it. One woman, in particular, was married to a preacher of a Pentecostal church. When I told her I wanted to do something to make a difference, she recommended I find another cause as that one was too far out of reach for me to make a difference. Well, saying no to those children was heart-breaking as I could not get the image out of my head.

I made a commitment, from then on in Sept. 2010 I was going to say a prayer every day on my way to work that by Christmas something would happen and at least some of those girls would get out of there. I said the same prayer every day with such conviction asking God to please help those people on the news show that were committed to that mission, getting girls out of sex slavery, to make a big break.  Then it happened.  The first week of Dec. I was driving to work listening to the news. I had just finished my prayer and it came on.  A huge rescue attempt had been made and was successful and a roundup of girls had been made that had been held in sex slavery!  Our government released a statement saying it was one of the largest numbers of children they had gotten out of this situation. I believe prayer does make a difference!

We all have our concerns in life with issues that affect our lives more directly. As a breast cancer survivor, I am fervently in support of the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides
Debbie Thomas, Director of Strides & myself, 2014, media specialist
against Breast Cancer.  I currently, during the season, help with the social media. I participate in other areas for this event too wanting it, each year, to be bigger and more successful in donations and awareness than the next.  Though I do not see my involvement as self-serving, I do see it as a natural evolvement.

It is important to support areas that are outside of our comfort zone.  I admire those that do more than pray, those that do more than read about it.  But doing anything is better than doing nothing! The issues are plentiful, animals being endangered, people having rare forms of illness, children dying from lack of healthcare, gay rights. 

Care enough to be motivated to understand the issue and why it indirectly affects you.  People need each other to get involved and make a stand. The idea that gay people can get medical insurance from companies as a partner but in states are not allowed to marry seems so contradictory.  Do we really want our money spent on fighting over this issue when there are issues out there causing quality of life?  I have a grandchild that could use a service dog, a friend that could use medical assistance, families in major cities that could use money spent on police reform.

There is a line between being concerned and being consumed.  With all of the stress in our lives, no one needs to take on added stress. However, helping a brother is something we are all called to do. To expect the world to help you in your hour of need when your life has been played out serving no one but your own needs and wants is hypocritical.  I urge you to find the time. Even if it is simply to become knowledgeable about some of the issues we are facing.  Hopefully, with that understanding, you will be more than willing to take a few moments out of your life to try to make a difference. Stepping up feels good and is more rewarding than sitting down. 
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