I write this today as a confession of my own cowardice.

I recently received an email about an essay contest that my English students might want to enter. This particular contest challenges students to write a creative essay about a Martin Luther King Jr. quote. Here is that quote: “We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Friends, I must tell you that I was cut to the quick when I read that. How can I call myself a Christian, a friend to the downtrodden and least of these, a friend to every race, color and creed, if I stay silent when minorities are demonized and ostracized? I don’t speak up much because I don’t think people care about what I have to say, but how is that an acceptable excuse? Is it not my duty, and every decent person’s duty, to defend the powerless, to care for the orphan and widow, to show love to the immigrant, regardless of what other people think?

As a public school teacher, I can’t be a role model to my students of color if I don’t speak against the injustices and disrespect shown to their communities by people in power. There are few things I dislike more than arguing with people on social media, but unfortunately in the social sphere, silence does in many ways equal consent.

Donald Trump has proven time and time again, in differing situations and circumstances, that he cares not for consent. Even so, I don’t consent to the injustice, racism and corruption of the current political powers, and so for the sake of my friends who have been targeted by this administration, I am trying to break my silence. If you feel the same way, then you should speak out, too.

Cade Elkins


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