Yesterday a lot of people on twitter and facebook vowed to be silent for 24 hours as part of Communication Shutdown, a global fundraiser for autism. I'm not entirely sure if the intent was to raise money (paying for people to shut up?) or to raise awareness (by someone's conspicuous absence?) but I do wonder what the results were. It certainly created a lot of controversy with people speaking out both for and against the effectiveness of the shutdown.
Personally, I see a lot more value in speaking up.
Rather than pretending that disabilities don't exist, I see value in helping people understand how to treat people with disabilities, in helping to ensure people with disabilities are not invisible, and in fighting to ensure that people with disabilities are given the resources and support that they need.
Rather than pretending that violence and harassment don't exist, I see value in speaking out. Violence Unsilenced is a powerful initiative aimed at giving people a voice. So many people have told their stories and received support. But it saddens me that despite having the medium, through our blogs, to tell our stories, that people still get criticized for doing so. When a woman speaks up about harassment she deserves to be supported. Blaming the victim for what happened or how or when she shared is a silencing technique. It is no wonder people still choose to be silent.
Choosing silence is...controversial. Being told to be silent is....wrong.
Speaking up is, after all, what blogging and social media is all about. Having a voice. Using that voice. Each voice is unique.
I am unsilent.
Thank you Ellen, Tanis, Maggie, Karen and so many others for being unsilent too. You are my heroes.
Image credit: fd on flickr