I used to say that I wished I had been born earlier, so that I could participate in all of the great social movements of the 1960s and 1970s: the civil rights movement, women’s rights movement, protests against the war in Vietnam, the environmental movement that gave us Earth Day . . . and it would’ve been fun to have been around for Woodstock, too. There’s something exciting about the idea of being a part of a powerful movement for change.
The more I see of current events, the more I realize that those dramatic opportunities for progress are not a thing of the past. We have just as many high stakes battles to fight now:
- We need to battle the denial and apathy that are holding us back from taking action to fight global climate change.
- Women are still not being taken seriously, as we are being prevented from being able to make some of our own healthcare decisions.
- Children and teens are dying as a result of unnecessary gun violence almost every day.
- Gay and lesbian people are not yet permitted to marry in every state, and transgender people are frequently the target of bullying and terrorist acts.
- We need to question US military presence in many other countries, most particularly those in the Middle East, as well as the militarization of the police force within our borders.
- The middle class is rapidly shrinking due to inflation and income inequality. Corporations need to be held accountable.
- The members of our government need to learn how to put partisan politics aside, to compromise, and to treat each other like adults.
- And, despite what anyone may say, the battle for civil rights is clearly not over.
These movements, too, can make the history books if we play our cards right. But, we need to put our smartphones down, get outside, and actually do something.
The time to act is now.
Will we seize it?