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Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate, Holocaust Survivor

Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate, Holocaust Survivor

Have you heard?

Barbara Erhenreich has started a nonprofit called The Economic Hardship Reporting Project to talk about how both companies and the government are stealing from the poor! She is speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Recently, I got a beautiful email from my friend Pamela Grow. If you’re not on her email list yet, and you are fundraising, you are MISSING OUT! So here’s her site, go there, sign up, you’ll love her weekly missives!

In her email, she had this quote:

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” -Elie Wiesel

It spoke to me on several levels.

If your nonprofit is all about speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves, whether it’s animals, or the disabled, or the elderly, or the children, I hope this post speaks to you today.

When I was little, my mom would tell me, “Don’t judge people, don’t compare yourself with other people. Just be quiet”

When my dad would scream at me and make me cry, my relatives stayed silent, and just watched what he did.

Later on, I saw them stay silent about a lot of things, things that I thought mattered, whether it was someone’s massive credit card debt, or domestic violence in the family. I could never articulate why I HAD to say something about it.

I thought there was something wrong with me when I saw injustices in my family and in the world and could not stay silent about them. It did not make me friends. It made me enemies in my family.

Recently on a trip back east, I talked with my relatives about one of my siblings, who seems to drink a bit much. At least, it seems so to me. It was an aside in a conversation, but it got back to him that I was “gossiping behind his back.” Now he’s not talking to me. It’s making me bummed out, honestly. But I’m dealing with it by remembering that everything changes, and that someday, hopefully, he’ll talk to me again.

Should I have stayed silent, if I saw something was wrong?

Is it right to stay silent?

Even at the cost of your own conscience?

When is it appropriate to confront someone about their drinking?

When they get into an accident? When they hurt someone else?  This sibling is a role model to all of my other cousins. Because of his example, they are definitely drinking more. I see it when we get together, and it makes me sad. Even if he doesn’t think he has a problem, he’s influencing other people I love in a negative way. Should I stay silent about this, even now?

Consider again this quote by Elie Weisel:

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” -Elie Wiesel

 

I have totally gotten in trouble for things I have said on this blog before. I might get in trouble again for saying this now.  BUT I MUST say it.

Is there something you are being silent about in your life, that you need to say something about? Do it now.

Consider that silence implies consent with whatever is going on.

Is there someone you can speak up for when you see them being yelled at?

How can you work to make a more equal and just world by speaking up for others or for yourself today?

If your nonprofit speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves, how can you galvanize your supporters to take action for those voiceless or the marginalized in our society?

You can use this quote in your enewsletter, or in a blog post.

If you want to do more, I have a free app on workplace bullying that can also apply to stuff you might face at home, this app  can help you name and claim what’s going on: Get it here.

And if you don’t have an android smartphone, here are some posts about demanding dignity in the workplace

Bullying Bosses Can Cause Employee Suicide

How do you respond if a manager ostracizes you or yells at you in front of staff?

How can you recover from a toxic workplace?

Rankism Blog by Robert Fuller: http://www.breakingranks.net

20 ways to demand dignity in the workplace: http://www.breakingranks.net/weblog/20-ways

The Workplace Bullying Institute http://workplacebullying.org

What have you spoken out about recently?

How did it make you feel?

Did you get negative fallout for speaking about what was important to you?

How did you respond?