Speak Up, Speak Out and Speak About to Make a Difference in the World

The tragic news of our 2012 Holiday Season is the sad deaths of children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Much has been said and reported; and I don’t have anything to offer that can help the situation. My heart hurts for those families, friends and neighbors who are grieving this season. I send them prayers and healing energies that they find peace.

I also grieve for our nation which is experiencing so much of this senseless violence. What seems important is that each person speak up, speak out and speak about their thoughts and feelings. We must not remain silent about this issue that is troubling our nation. The more people speak up, the more conversation stimulates changes that are needed.

My article today is intended to inspire you to take up a different kind of “arms.” No, I don’t mean take up guns, I mean find a creative way to speak up, out and about your concerns. Write your congressman, write to a newspaper, write a story or post a video on YouTube. Express yourself! Yours may be the one voice that makes the difference.

In 1850, also in Connecticut, Harriet Beecher Stowe, the daughter of fiery minister Lyman Beecher was appalled at slavery in the US at the height of the abolitionist furor over a new Fugitive Slave Law that gave bounty hunters the right to hunt down runaway slaves even in northern states. Her sister-in-law, Katy, wrote Harriet a letter urging her to “write something that would make this whole nation feel what an accursed thing slavery is.” Harriet, an unknown and unpublished author, upon reading Katy’s letter declared, “I will write something!” Harriet knew she had to speak out.

Harriet wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin which portrayed slavery in heartbreakingly human terms. Not only did her story become the first American novel to sell a million copies, but it sparked the hearts and minds of Americans and ignited the American Civil War. In 1862, President Lincoln, upon meeting Harriet at the White House was quoted as saying, “So this is the little lady who wrote the book that made this great war.”

I am sure that Harriet Beecher Stowe could not have imagined having sparked a war over slavery when she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but her’s was the one voice that made a difference and helped change the course of American history.

Reader’s Digest said that “Uncle Tom’s Cabin became regarded as the greatest of American propaganda novels – a remarkable achievement, considering that Harriet had never before published a work of fiction and was unknown in the world of literature.”
Let us all take a lesson from Harriet Beecher Stowe, the house wife and mother of five children who wrote a story that expressed her disgust for slavery.

What will you speak up, speak out or speak about?