Friday, December 09, 2011


 Lately I've seen a couple youtube videos that seem to follow a certain style. They involve a young person who has a story to tell, often one that is sad. In the background music plays. Sometimes with lyrics, other times without. These young people have white cards. maybe 5X7 or so. On the cards are words, written in plain printing, black ink or markers. One card at a time they share their stories, their faces show some of the time between cards. You can tell when they are getting to tough parts or really good parts. Some of the stories end in tears, others with smiles. You never hear their voices, just read their stories. As someone who tells stories, it made me think. (okay, many things make me think for many reasons). In this case it made me think about our voices.
Where have our voices gone? Where have the voices of these young people gone?
Based on the nature of the stories I've watched, these young people are young people who have lost their voices. Some through years of bullying or other acts of harassment. Some feel regret for not using their voices earlier to tell people that they loved them. Some through mental illness. Their voices have somehow been lost, been taken from them, so they turn to technology to find it back. The homemade note cards in the videos give the videos a homemade, almost old fashioned type of feel. Reminds me of when the pastor at church uses the "poor-man's" powerpoint, a string across the front that he hangs poster board on. It's funny that htey have that feel, since they use modern technology to exist.
When I first saw them I thought it was a pathetic way for these young people to tell their stories, but then I realized that it wasn't. It was these young people digging deep into themselves to find all that they had left to get their voices heard. They no longer trusted their own voices and were trying to find someway to feel heard. More than one of these videos have gone viral (been shared and viewed so many times that news stations pick up the story, that changes actually get made). Their voices got heard. What has gone so wrong in our world that this is the only way young people are getting their voices heard? Why have the voices of humans been so devalued that they aren't heard? It's not just these young people whose voices aren't heard. Because their voices are eventually heard. If not with our ears, then with our eyes. Their messages get across, to more than perhaps their intended initial audience.
There are many more whose voices don't get heard. I think the the child crying to be heard by parents who are too busy with drugs or alcohol or work. I think of the wife trying to get her husband's attention. The orphan begging to be noticed by anyone. The homeless who just want some dignity. The lonely, the abused, the afraid...all who just want a voice.

When do they get their voice? When will we give them their voice back? How do we give them their voice back? How do those of us who have voices use them to help those who do not have voices?

How will you use your voice for the voiceless?

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