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Having the Courage to Stand Up

Kimberlee Leonard

Posted on July 15, 2018 23:14

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Advocacy seems to be a social movement. Sometimes making a real impact means having the courage to take a risk to help someone next door.

There is no doubt that people are highly motivated to advocate for beliefs. Turn on any news channels and you will see gatherings and protests. Standing up for change or ideologies seems to be the current social movement as much as it is a political or humanitarian movement. While I respect and embrace everyone having the ability to stand and advocate for their beliefs regardless of what side of the aisle you stand on, I challenge every one of us to think about what true advocacy and courage are.

Just the other day, I sat with a friend having lunch. Something was troubling her and she asked me what I would do. She was disturbed by something she heard from her neighbor’s house at 6:00 am. A father was having a loud quarrel with his son, maybe 12 or 13 years old. The shouting escalated and she could hear the father disparaging the boy, calling him lazy, a loser, and worthless. 

The boy barely made a sound as the father’s emotions raged on until he finally demanded that the boy put his hands down by his side. Next, a punch audible from several homes away was heard. My friend was obviously disturbed by the situation unable to understand how a parent could act that way. She wondered if she should do something. She worried that the father might retaliate against her if she did.

It occurred to me that as much as we want to advocate for our beliefs in society, too often we don’t want to get involved. Advocacy that isn’t at a march or a rally can mean you are bringing a fight to your own doorstep. This is something most of us aren’t willing to do. Then there are those who make that call to child services for less than extreme circumstances.

What would you do if you witnessed a child being abused in some way shape or form? 

Thanks to cell phones and social media, society has become a “film it and post it” world. That wasn’t the case in this situation where no one could really see what was going on in the home. No viral help will be coming and there is still a young boy who is getting beaten by his father. Standing up and saying, “I will help,” can be scary. After all, people get stabbed, shot and beaten for next to nothing these days. Retaliation is something every whistleblower thinks about.

I explained to my friend that an anonymous call to social services would keep her name out of the situation but at least send the boy lifeline of hope. After all, the situation was loud enough that any one of 10 neighbors could have called. For me, this is where true advocacy and courage sit.

While the big scale rallies and protests are necessary to address big-picture issues, we must remain vigilant to help a victim when we see that help is needed.

Kimberlee Leonard

Posted on July 15, 2018 23:14

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Source: Journal Star

Modern Southern belles are good mothers, very hospitable and like to entertain. They're community-minded. They volunteer...

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