Join Prism Book Alliance® as Shae Connor goes Outside the Margins today.
I have never had the personality of an activist. I get angry or upset over injustices often, but when it comes time to put those feelings into action, my natural introversion and anxiety hold me back. In particular, making people angry and making mistakes in public are two of my biggest anxiety triggers. So instead of speaking out, I often look for ways to help quietly: lending financial support when possible, offering emotional support to friends, or boosting messages from others, particularly those who are part of the affected communities.
That’s not enough for me anymore.
Too much is happening. Too much needs to be said. Too many people need too much help.
It’s difficult to cross my self-created barriers and learn to stick my neck out, even knowing that I’m approaching most topics from a position of privilege. I’m white, and I identify as both cisgender and heterosexual. I practice the dominant religion in my country. I’m financially stable with a secure job (with the caveat that the job does put certain restrictions on my political activities).
In short, I have no excuse for not standing up for what’s right. For not speaking out against hate. For not supporting love and kindness and calling for basic human decency.
Hate is not an abstraction. Hate kills. People die from hate every day, in every part of the world. And hate often comes from places that are supposed to be built on a foundation of love.
In particular, I am fed up with people using the label of Christianity to practice hate. As a lifelong Christian, I cannot comprehend the thought processes of far too many of the people who use that label. On a near-daily basis, self-proclaimed Christians are celebrating murder, blaming victims for the crimes committed against them, and supporting hateful rhetoric and policies. In the past, I’ve mostly responded by cutting those people out of my life. Strangers get blocked; “friends” get removed.
But that’s not enough. In truth, it’s never been enough. And every day it becomes more important to me to do more.
Love isn’t an abstraction either. Love is an active verb. It’s something you do, something you are, something you live.
What this all means is you may be seeing me use my online platforms more often to speak out against hate. In particular, I’m going to speak up when I see hatred coming from people who call themselves Christians. It won’t be the only thing I’ll do, but it’s likely to be the most visible. I’ve already started, and yes, it’s nerve-racking, but I survived.
I’d never promise to do things perfectly. I’ll have days when I’ll have to retreat and regroup. I know I’ll screw up even when I do speak out, and I’ll do my best to fix it when I do.
I’m also fairly sure I’ll lose friends and followers in the process. Maybe even a few family members. I’m sorry about that, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take, because I’ll gain so much more.
Truth, love, and healing: that’s what matters. That’s what I’ll be working toward. And I believe that’s what will win out in the end.
About Shae ConnorShae Connor lives in Atlanta, where she’s a lackadaisical government worker for a living and writes sweet-hot romance under the cover of night. She’s been making things up for as long as she can remember, but it took her a long time to figure out that maybe she should try writing them down. She’s conned several companies into publishing her work and adds a new notch on her bedpost each time another story is unleashed onto an unsuspecting universe.
A member of the Romance Writers of America and the Rainbow Writers chapter, Shae was first published in 2010 and has a lineup of short stories, novellas, and novels available from Dreamspinner Press, Wilde City Press, MLR Press, and Amber Allure.
Shae is part Jersey, part Irish, and all Southern, which explains why she never shuts up. When she’s not chained to her laptop, she enjoys cooking, traveling, watching baseball, and reading voraciously, and she’s an annual volunteer for the Dragon Con on-site publication, the Daily Dragon. You can find her hanging out on Twitter most any time @shaeconnor, but for the more direct route, you can email her at email@example.com or visit her website at shaeconnorwrites.com.
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