As we work to gather broken shards of skin from sidewalk cracks and bandage still sticky wounds from last month’s election, yesterday’s performance of Hairspray Live brought a message of hope and togetherness that many of us needed.
We are still reaching for light but are not ready, or unable to find, such optimism. But Hairspray tells a story involving racism, fat-phobia, and strong women leaders who come together to make change happen.
As I sat bundled on my couch, crying while Jennifer Hudson sang “I Know Where I’ve Been”, I felt deep sadness, yet again, for the lack of progress America has made in the past 50 years, but also a passionate fire, motivating me to go forward once again. Her words cradled and brushed lips with everyone who is tired of fighting, tired of crying, and tired of the hatred, danger, and oppression. Those less privileged than me, beaten down, unable to stand.
The ballad comes from a black woman, leading her loved ones into a march for equal representation not only on the Corny Collins show, but in their community. To live fairly and dance side-by-side on television, in the schools, and in the streets. It talked about the struggles, the journey, and the need to DO something and fight together.
One line in particular struck me and settled deep in my chest--a line that I have heard over and over before, but finally listened to for the first time:
“Cause just to sit still, would be a sin.”
Oh God, I wondered, am I sitting still? I try to do all that I can to be an active ally and strong woman, but is it enough? Have I, or have we, been pushed back so many times that maybe we have stopped moving?
Because being stagnant, watching and doing nothing, is a true tragedy.
So don’t sit still. Don’t stand by, and be quiet, when we have voices and resources and the means to create change.
Call your representatives and governor when an unconstitutional bill is proposed taking away women’s rights. Leave voice-mails, send emails, rally up your fellow fighters and let them know that our demands will be heard.
Fight with peace. Walk on paved streets hand in hand with love and signs and words.
Don’t sit still.
Take up space, all you movers all you shakers, hell, even all you candle stick makers. Build and create new life, new song, new art, new stories, not to romanticize suffering, but to speak louder than their oppression. We are beautiful and we will show it. We won’t be stopped.
Lend hands, walk the walk, talk the talk. Are you an ally? Are you an activist? Sit and learn from other communities, fight with them, donate your money and time.
Research and inform and inspire. Read, have conversations and keep looking for that light, because one day, it’s going to get a bit brighter. We are going to reach it.
Just whatever you do, just don’t sit still.
We are on the heels of 2017, not yet cracked or calloused. We’ll take those feet all over the world ten times over. It’ll be tiring, it’ll be hard, but it won’t be impossible.
We'll go here, and there, painting the skies and loving with our words and heavy limbs. We'll help and give and love together, showing one another patience, and being kind.
And we’ll never stop moving.