Why I have to believe words matter

Sometimes I wonder if words matter. It's no doubt I love to speak them. And write them. But do they matter?

Will there be change if we make posters and send letters and sign petitions?

Will my opinion matter? Will public opinion matter?

These questions plague me because I'm consistently on the cusp of surrender, dare I say, retreat and defeat. I am constantly fighting between reckless optimism and pragmatism. I worry deeply and endlessly about what seems to be boundless injustice in our very own backyards.

In these moments, in the moments that my mind drifts into darkness and my sense of resiliency wanes. I remember that I have to believe in words and posters and letters and petitions. Because those things freed my father. Those seemingly mundane things meant that justice was served.

I have to believe in these things because they are the tools of our democracy. I have to believe in those things because they are the only things we have in the face of injustice. I have to believe in those things because my mom did and my grandmother did and everyone who stood alongside us during that ordeal did. I have to believe in those seemingly little actions because it is in that very belief, that those things have power to make a difference.

So my brothers and sisters, my fellow human beings: I humbly ask of you, to use your words and to use your art, to speak your truth and to demand justice. My brothers and sisters, it is our role, dare I say, it is our duty, in the darkest of moments, in the days plagued with miscarriages of justice, to speak loudly and audaciously to those who threaten our right to dignity, life, and liberty.