By Kaitlin Johnstone

Refusing to be Silent

From the age of seven I can remember walking into Shea stadium, home of the New York Mets dressed in rival Atlanta Braves gear from head to toe ready to spew stats and rattle off random points to older male fans. This may seem as a completely pointless prelude into a blog about activism, but bare with me, I promise to a get to a point. Growing up as a woman who loves sorts, I found myself having to constantly prove my credibility. I continually put myself into conversations and debates with my male counterparts to ensure my voice was heard. To this day, I still start any new baseball conversation I have with someone by clearly pointing out my Atlanta Braves tattoo. Not to show off what a fan I am. It’s to make sure people recognize that I’m not merely a girl who pretends to like sports. Still, after all these years I feel pressures to be silent at games, act more like a lady, and not engage in conversations revolving around sports. I write about my passion for baseball first to help you picture my drive to stand up in a crowd full of people surrounding me who may not believe in, or root for, the same team as I do as a stepping stone to understand the enthusiasm I put toward any cause or movement I feel needs more voices that won’t back down. Because within that sea of Mets fans there was never a time that I didn’t find someone to cheer with me. So, here is my opportunity to explain where I come from when I tell you throughout this courageous stand that teachers, students, and citizens are taking on gun control we have to recognize all gun violence as being a problem that must be heard.
As mentioned in previous blogs, I grew up not truly thinking of race as existing as I think many white people do. I felt as though I immersed myself in the idea that being “color blind” could be a real thing. Well, this idea could not be more untrue. It has been in unpacking my own white privilege that I understand, more now than ever, the clear cut roles systemic racism plays on our everyday lives. There is a reason that the gap between who is achieving on standardized tests, who is being incarcerated, and who has access to good health is growing larger. I have always tried hard to understand and celebrate the importance of diversity, but my role in getting other people to join me in this understanding is a daunting task. However, when I turn on the news or pull up social media and all that floods my timeline are stories of yet another young, unarmed black man, such as Stephon Clark, being killed I immediately worry about my former students. I fear that one day they could be taken from this world far too young prior to having achieved the dreams and aspirations that I saw so vividly through their 5 year old eyes.
Now is not a time for anyone to be silent. The time is now for us all to channel our inner child and stand for what is right. Now is my turn to shout it to a crowd of people who may not agree with me that black boys have the right to grow up too! Even if I am standing alone in a packed stadium of onlookers who may not agree, I will continue to advocate for what is right in hopes of encouraging one other person to stand with me. 

1 comment

  • Reading this with tears running down my face. I pray that everyone could be as kind,compassionate, and loving as you are. Beautifully written.❤

    Deborah Lambert on

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