I have a confession to make. I cheated a little bit and strayed from my reading goal this week. I had a book come up on my library hold list (and as I’ve said before, I love the library) and jumped at the chance to get it.
But, if I was going to cheat, How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation, edited by Maureen Johnson, was the title to do it with. The book is an anthology bringing together writers and activists of all colors, genders, and religions. So while some of the contributors are men, the underlying message was about positivity and empowerment, which I thought fit well with my theme for this year.
The practical information in this book about how to get in touch with representatives and be part of the political process is so important and valuable, but there was one overarching theme in each piece that hit me more than any other:
Creativity is a form of activism.
It is such a simple concept, and yet it’s not always easy to remember. Art matters, words matter, voices matter, movement matters. Art and creativity in any form is an individual’s way of putting their voice and ideas out into the world. And more voices there are out there, the more perspectives are out there, which will hopefully lead to more dialogue and acceptance and all those beautiful things.
The fantastic thing about creativity is that it comes in many shapes and sizes. It can be harnessed by all who choose to use it and is genuinely egalitarian in that anyone can make that choice. True, there are a variety of different platforms for people to share their creativity, many of which give more exposure to some over others, but truly creative people are establishing new forms every day. They are making sure that new voices are heard every day. Even if you only choose to share your creativity with family and friends, you are actively adding something to their lives, and that matters.
Because each new voice is different because every human is different, and the more we can highlight and learn from those differences and eventually, with a lot of hard work and patience and reflection, learn from them. The more we learn, the stronger we are to hate and negativity. This has been something I’ve been trying to do in my reading this year, but maybe now is the time to start exposing myself to other creative endeavors as a way of taking in more.
I want to give this book to everyone I know, not just young people, because it sends such an important message about standing up for yourself and making sure your voice is heard. It’s true that this book was born as a response to the 2016 US presidential election and leans left, but I would still give it to people I know regardless of political affiliation. This book carries so much hope about creativity and celebrating everyone that I think everyone can learn from. Hopefully, we can collectively use our creativity to bring about some positive change.