“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” ~ Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give
It seems that around the world, hatred in all its forms has become emboldened. Racism, sexism, homophobia, religious persecution...the list goes on, and so do the incidents.
Don’t believe me? Just this week we had a local news story about racism in a high school. One province over, some hockey fans hurled racist insults because of call in a game. And along with the shock of hearing about hatred close to home comes the surprise at experiencing hatred from people we respect or admire. This month the world was saddened and shocked at Liam Neeson’s confessions.
This post isn’t about pointing fingers and shaming. Instead, it’s about taking a stand. It’s a chance for us to use our voices and say enough. No more. We are not ok with this. This is not acceptable. Instead, we say heart. We need more heart. Because, only #HeartBeatsHate.
Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give is on our booklist. Why? Because it explores the strength and courage it takes to find and use our voices. This book also underscores the idea of social contagion. We see how one voice encourages another, and another until that voice is the only voice heard.
The book was a way for Angie, then a college student, to deal with the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant. She was shaken and angry. In an interview about The Hate U Give, Angie reflected: “I wanted to make sure I approached it not just in anger, but with love even.” Throughout the narrative (in both the book and the subsequent movie), we see Starr Carter deal with the police shooting death of her childhood friend Khalil. While fictional, there are many parallels to real events: Khalil and Oscar, black men shot by police, and growing social movements (#blacklivesmatter). Angie highlights social pressures, cultural realities and internal struggles. It’s real and powerful. It’s raw. It’s emotional. It’s relevant.
For us here at HeartBeatsHate, it’s also a reminder that we’re here because we need to be. We’re here to use our voices, to avoid silence, to recognize when we’re called to stand up, speak out and push back.