Would You Take a Stand for Your Values?

Would You Take a Stand for Your Values?

Since the 2016 election, I’ve been vacillating between wanting to put my head down and disappear and wanting to stand up and be seen as someone who believes in inclusiveness and social justice and honesty, kindness and love.

One moment, I bury myself deep in a page-turner type novel, hiding from the world. And The next minute, I think about things I might do to raise up the values I so believe in through the years to come.

An Idea is Taking Shape..

I, like many people, am going through the stages of grief. I’m in mourning, which is starting to give way to anger and perhaps action.

The action that has stirred for me is the idea of creating and distributing black armbands.

Imagine if millions of people wearing black armbands with a simple, recognizable symbol that captures our core message printed on them. We would be a powerful and ongoing presence.

I envision that people will wear them every day during this new administration as a reminder that we are here. We are watching. We are not agreeing. It would be an ever-present symbol of our core values of inclusiveness, social justice, integrity and kindness.

Wearing a black armband would make us visible in the same way a Muslim wearing a Hijab is visible, or a person of color is visible, or a person who speaks with an accent is visible. Black armbands worn regularly by many would become a symbol of our collective presence, not just at rallies and the Trump inauguration, but every day, day after day, week after week.

The Roller Coaster of Commitment

Every few hours I change my mind. When I woke up this morning, it seemed like a great idea. Then by ten o’clock, it seemed foolish. But then at eleven o’clock, someone I had emailed about it responded saying she’d help. And then I was going forward again.

I’ve contacted friends and professional colleagues to see if they’d be inclined to help. And one by one, people have written back saying yes. Some have even thanked me for asking for their help.

Giving Wings to the Idea

So for the moment, I’m moving ahead with this idea. There are many questions to answer:

  • What should be on the armband?
  • How to get it designed and manufactured?
  • What to charge for them?
  • How to distribute them?
  • How to prepare people for the consequences of wearing them?
  • Who should receive the proceeds in the event of a profit?
  • How will we get the word out?

But posing these questions moves the project along. Now, we just need to figure out some answers and move forward quickly before it becomes too easy to step back and just wait for what’s about to happen to our country. That would be acquiescing…handing over our power. And I don’t want to do that. ┬áDo you?

I’ve often wondered what I would have done if I had lived in Germany during the rise of the Third Reich. I guess this is my chance (and yours) to find out.

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Help Us and Take a Stand for Your Values

Are you looking for a way to respond to the election? Is my black armband project something you’d be willing to help with? Do you honestly think you would wear one? Would you give them to your friends? Would you help get the word out? Would you muster your resources to help make this idea a reality?

If so, please email me directly at: andreakihlstedt@gmail.com.

Share your thoughts about this black armband idea in the comments below. And, head on over to Facebook and share your ideas there, too.

  • jswagner

    Funny- this is very similar to the idea behind the black armband I have tattooed on my left arm. I did it as a result of the ’92 Rwandan massacre, which, as a normally informed white guy, I found out about on NPR weeks after it had begun; the horror of both the massacre and the western world’s indifference, grounded in racism, shook me deeply. Due to an accident of time, I couldn’t finish the tattoo during the scheduled session, which turned out to be perfect, for I now have an armband that’s not fully enclosed, which I became firmly committed to keeping. The lack of closure was a perfect offset to the mourning and condemnation of the piece, One may refuse to let evil and ignorance have a final say, even in such little things.

    I think sometimes about what to write in the gap, to instantiate that refusal. This gives me a good idea- to write whatever I like in the gap. It had never occurred to me that I have a canvas I can write and write over like a palimpsest, and say the thoughts I want to remember in the moment, like a child’s tattoo; I’d always hesitated because I didn’t want to say anything permanent. Maybe I can have friends and heroes scrawl things there for me, with one of those awful black pens that lasts weeks.

    I recall people saying that I would do many tattoos, but I’ve only done the one, and I took years to consider it; I’ve never wanted another. I suppose that means it encompasses the only message I’d like carried along with my body. A good reminder of my values.

    Thanks for the idea.