• Naima Shaltu

The Consequences of Our Inaction



Why does it take a common enemy to bring us together? Why doesn't it take a common beauty instead?

I said it.

Why now? Why does it take tragedy after tragedy for us to realize we need to come together. Why couldn’t we have established this in the first place. And this goes for everything. We know the results of what our actions and inaction can do yet, we continue to live mindlessly as if we did not see it coming.

Now a days, it is can be no surprise to us if we find out another hate crime, another attack, another community targeted, another life lost. We watch again and again, becoming normalized to death after death. We start to loose one of the most important values of one’s soul - humanity. And even during times where are these attacks, we are selective of which one’s we talk about. The true essence of justice itself entails speaking up and granting justice to the lives of those whom are treated unjustly. There is no specific label for it.

It doesn’t take much to speak up, it doesn’t take much to show up, it doesn’t take much to be present. Yes, these systemic and institutional forms of oppression that are governing over our lives will not be solved in a day and they will take a lot of work to change. But what are we doing in the mean time while we work towards changing these systems. Ask yourselves, what are you doing in your platforms (regardless of 1 or 1,000,000 followers) in order to speak out and create community. Educate others about what is going on, about the truth, and if you don’t know, find out. We should all continue to strive to learn and grow regardless if we are in school or not. Our learning comes from one another, from our experiences, and the things we gain along the way. When we constantly focus on the difference amongst each other, it gets to a level where we start to create borders and walls: ironically the same ones that these systems, groups and people have been doing to oppress us.

I SWEAR BY THIS: every time I have opened up about myself, not only have I seen others do the same, but I am constantly reminded of how much we don’t really know what someone might be going through. Every time I learn about how my initial assumptions that I didn’t even realized I had, were debunked. Lives are worth more than just hastags, they (we) deserve better.


There is a famous poem titled "First They Came" written by Pastor Martin Niemoller, who said the following:


"First they came for the Communists,

And I did not speak out,

Because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the Socialists,

And I did not speak out,

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

And I did not speak out,

Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

And I did not speak out,

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me,

And there was no one left,

To speak out for me."


This quote has intrigued me so much that I wanted to write a version of this poem today in the context of the United States.


First they came for the Indigenous People

And I did not speak out,

Because I was not Indigenous.

Then they came for the Black Community

And I did not speak out,

Because I was not Black.

Then they came for the Muslims,

And I did not speak out,

Because I was not Muslim.

Then they came for women,

And I did not speak out,

Because I was not a women.

Then they came for the activists,

And I did not speak up

because I was not an activist...

And they continued to come for others,

And I did not speak,

Because I was not the others.

Then they came for me,

And there was no one left,

to speak for me.


Now ask yourselves...


What are you doing to take action when it comes to the harming of others? Regardless of your beliefs and disagreements, we are all human beings and sanctity of life is at stake.