Taking a Stand
In my last post I likened Web 2.0 to a spider’s web – an “Orb Web”. This week I see World Pulse and Web 2.0 as the embodiment of Rosa Parks and the women of Liberia in Pray the Devil Back to Hell – taking a stand. I have had many opportunities to express myself about issues important to me - and I have regrets about some of the ones I passed up. My grandmother tried to guide me as to when and where it was proper to speak up and my mother offered quiet whispers about what was fair and just and what was not. I felt confused by the etiquette I was taught and the absence of outspoken women in my early life.
My own real test came when I was seventeen and wrote my first letter to the editor of our local newspaper in a conservative town in Southern Ohio. I was attending Kent State University when four students were shot and killed and several others were injured during an anti-war protest. I was in that crowd and had been part of the protests going on all weekend in an effort to bring an end to the Vietnam War. I had to use my voice. The purpose of my letter was to share my view that using violence was unnecessary in responding to the student protests and more peaceful means were available. I delivered my letter to the editor and asked to speak with him because it was common practice for him to change someone’s letter and then publish it. I would not let him change anything in my letter unless I agreed to it. My letter was published and responses rolled in. It created a dialogue in the local paper about the war, student protests and the like. And it led to death threats and mail being sent to our house suggesting that I should be locked up or should have been one of the students shot. I don’t think the threats were serious, but I was left feeling disappointed and deflated that I did not engage my audience in recognizing the powerful tool of non-violence.
My challenge now is how to use my voice without being divisive, derogatory or overly dramatic. The issues of the day have engaged my passion, awakened my sense of duty and inspired me to step forward. I would like to create an inter-generational “talk show blog” with others across the globe. Some months ago, Nicholas Kristof noted that there are far fewer female bloggers weighing in on issues these days. While I can heed the call, we must be mindful of the numbers of women who risk their lives just to read a book. In early 2011 I will host a learning journey of local women to attend the NGO sessions of the UN Conference on the Status of Women. World Pulse will be our conduit to make the invisible visible and to call our sisters into mindful action.