Today, bravery looks like taking a stand.
I had planned to post about another topic, but want to acknowledge the brave acts of civil disobedience in Hong Kong. When thousands of people stand for something without breaking any laws, it is impossible to ignore. It’s also a worthy lesson for all of us in bravely confronting a wrong.
If you have been following the news, you know that the growing throng is showing their dissatisfaction with the Chinese government for limiting their voting options. This rising tide is more than a “Demonstration,” it is a “Movement,” an awe-inspiring public stand to create change. Regardless of how you feel about the political nature of this experience, I defy you to find fault in the method, or question the success in sending a powerful call to action.
A very dear friend of mine was part of the stand against the government in Tienanmin Square until a police state was enacted some 15 years ago. This tiny but fierce woman has a brilliant mind, a poet’s heart, and more courage than most. She shared about the nonviolent stand the students took, and how she experienced the threat of tanks and other violence while living in the underground tunnels beneath the Square. Watching the drama unfold in Hong Kong today, I have an appreciation of the risks being taken to further a cause.
Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.
Nonviolence as a stand against injustice was a focal point of the Civil Rights movement. The Nashville Public Library’s Civil Rights Room offers video examples of training for nonviolent demonstrators bravely sitting at segregated lunch counters, preparing them for ridicule and possible violence they would face. The willingness of these individuals to put themselves in harms way was beyond impressive. Their commitment to change, unquestionable.
I know, these are larger than life events. What does this mean for us in our own backyards?
At this time in our lives, we know what “Wrong” looks like, and how badly it feels. We know it when we see it, and if we can see it, we can stand against it. We each have our own lines in the sand, and recognize when they have been crossed… the question is, what to do about it.
A tender spot for me is around gossip; it is a harmful, mean-spirited act. When I hear people gossiping about others, I will at first try to redirect the conversation. If that does not work, I will say, “Y’all know you’re gossiping, right?”. Yeah, I’m that girl. And it’s almost always uncomfortable for everyone involved. But well worth it to me to take on the battle.
While confronting wrong often pits us against others (often friends, co-workers), it doesn’t matter. When wrong is wrong, we will risk that relationship. Wading in to right the wrong, even when it’s uncomfortable, makes this a brave act.
Right now, the streets of Hong Kong are teeming with hopeful forces for change. Here at home, we can be a part of our own brave movement. What stand have you taken? Write and tell me about your own brave acts.
Be brave. See the wrong. Take a stand.