Watching as many gathered downtown last Saturday, not in protest, but rather in celebration of ideals. Feeling grateful that I have known and spoken to so many men who share my respect for women as equal individuals. Individual minds who will not be indexed or categorized. 

We have a choice not to succumb to the ignorance of the “us and them” mentality. Because there is no “Us” or “Them.” There may be strength in numbers and collective inspiration to speak out against injustice, yet sometimes adamantly protesting or proclaiming political, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious or economic divisions are the tools of those who seek to deflect blame for failure to confront our own individual fears and insecurity about dealing with our neighbors directly. One mind to one mind. Discussion removed from the influence of mob emotion or “group-think.” 

Long after the march has ended, the streets are cleared, and the signs dismantled, we each have a responsibility to speak up as required and raise awareness for rational solutions to ignorance and misconceptions. Movements can be historical and accelerate momentum. But daily discussion — one-on-one in the trenches — will always be the key to change.

Brian Sharpe 

Oak Park 

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