Opinion » Guest Opinions

Love Over Violence

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Love Over Violence

What should we do when brutal violence happens in our communities? When something terrible happens, many of us turn away. This is a natural response to painful truths. But it will not help us change things for the better. No, to make change, we cannot turn away.

We must turn towards the recent acts of violence in Idaho and see the connections—high-school football players racially abusing and raping their teammate with a disability, three football players sexually assaulting a young woman, four men targeting and killing a gay man and a young man committing a domestic violence-related homicide.

These are not unrelated acts, but are connected by a truth that our society encourages us to take power from others based our gender, race, ability and sexual orientation.

We need to look inward, to see who we are—a society that promotes hyper-masculinity and aggression; communities where power over others is used to oppress.

We have a shared responsibility to ask what we must do differently to end domination and violence. We cannot keep girls and women and people who are gender oppressed silenced and afraid. We cannot risk the emotional and physical safety of our children in schools and college campuses and in our communities.

We can do better. We must do better. This is not an invitation. This is not a plea. This is a simple statement of fact.

We need to shine a light on hope and the possibility for change. We need to see our profound interconnectedness to one another as human beings, our own and each other's humanity. We need to listen—deeply listen—to girls and women and people who are gender oppressed, people of color, and people with disabilities about the truth connected to their histories and lived experiences.

We need to engage in conversations—with your family, neighbors, colleagues and community—about the worth of every human being, why everyone should be valued and accepted for their authentic selves, and how differences should be celebrated.

We need parents and schools to teach our children, from preschool through college, about anti-bias on gender, race and other identities, and that raises consciousness to make schools more just, equitable and safe.

We need to re-imagine communities with social equity and collective liberation, where everyone has what they need and power is shared. We need to embrace our shared responsibility to interrupt harm and turn toward those most in need. We need to see our growing interdependence as an opportunity for cooperation, regeneration and sustainability.

Whole people and whole communities are possible with love over violence. These are the stories we must tell; these are the stories we must live.

We need to come together and inspire real change that gives us hope. Together, we can build our future now.

—Kelly Miller, executive director, Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence