Take pride in your pride

We as a society are at a crucial transitional phase right now when it comes to social issues. Marriage equality is finally a law, feminism is becoming much more widely accepted, and I’ve even noticed people starting to actively use proper pronouns while regarding people who are transgender or genderqueer. I mean, there are still people preaching about hellfire and brimstone in the middle of the Quad, but we as a society are definitely taking steps in the right direction. A much larger amount of people these days believe in true social equality.

However, while many claim to be in support of “true social equality”, simply claiming support is not enough to elicit a relevant change in the community. There’s much more that needs to be done.

This past Friday, I had overheard a student talking about the Champaign-Urbana Pride Festival that had occurred the day before. I had no idea that there was anything of the sort happening near campus. I approached her, asking for details, and she said that the amount of people that had actually showed up to vocalize and show their support for the LGBT community was surprisingly few.
This was shocking. I know plenty of people within my residence hall alone that have nothing but the utmost support of the LGBT community, yet no one said anything about this event. Maybe they just didn’t know about it.

But what if they did? What if people I knew and lived with were going to this event and simply kept this information to themselves? In either scenario, the source is the same problem: People simply aren’t vocal enough about social issues. This lack of activism creates significantly less awareness about the issues at hand: whether it’s the pride parade or any other event pertaining to social issues.

Emaline Johnson, junior in LAS, says though many people believe in treating people fairly, few people actually do anything to try and make a change.

    Sign up for our newsletter!

    “There are many college kids who think equality is right, and criticize the way equality is marginalized, but don’t do anything to help it.” Johnson said. “It is a harsh and sad reality, but it is a reality nonetheless that we need to think about.”

    We were all most likely taught at a young age about bullying and the different roles one can play in a bullying scenario. You can be the bully, the mean kid that picks on other people, or you can be the victim, the kid that suffers from the actions of the bully.

    However, we were also taught about a very important third party: the bystander. This person may not have ever bullied anyone in their life, but remains just as guilty as the bully for not speaking up or doing anything.

    We’re all grown up now, and college classes don’t teach us about bullying, but the problem hasn’t dissolved; it’s grown up with us. The various characters you see around campus or on TV trying to shut down social equality are the bullies. The oppressed parties that are directly affected by these actions are the victims.

    Guess what role is taken on by those who don’t spread hate, but do nothing to stop its spread.

    This winter, the Champaign-Urbana community is putting together an event called “One Winter Night” to raise awareness and money for homelessness, by having community members camp outside for one night, raising as much money as they can to assist the homeless in the area.

    By not attending or spreading awareness about events like the CU Pride Parade and One Winter Night when we can, we are being bystanders. The answer: we need to be far more vocal about social issues in general society. It’s not enough to just believe in equality; for changes to be made, people need to be active in social issues.

    Those of us who believe in LGBT rights, feminism and other social issues need to be vocal and be heard as opposed to doing nothing, one way or the other. Your voice can effect countless other people, and it’s our social responsibility to use our voices to make the changes that need to be made in the world.
    Logan Weeter is a freshman in LAS.
    opinions @dailyillini.com