When One Million People Are Listening, You Roar

As Katy claimed the stage at halftime, the crowd exploded with excitement, but I didn’t.

“I just hope that at the end of the day, over 100 million people are all smiling in unison.” She expressed to the media. Many were smiling, but I wasn’t.

No More

As they anticipated the publication of the first No More commercial aired by the NFL during an event as momentous as the Super Bowl, the Joyful Heart Foundation exclaimed, “A historic 30 seconds!”

When videos like Ray Rice’s go viral, the world loves to join in on the hype. But for survivors and victims all over the world, the video served as a trigger and a reminder. We didn't just watch, we felt it.

We stood in anger. We stood in relation. We cried, we fought our own demons, we felt the same punches. We stood broken in the same spot and continued to scream the same message we did before the hashtag was trending. If you ask me, that deserves more than 30 seconds.

As Katy took the stage that day, these were the words that fell on everyone’s ears:

“I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath. Scared to rock the boat and make a mess. So I sat quietly, agreed politely. I guess I forgot I had a choice. I let you push me past the breaking point. I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything. You held me down, but I got up. Already brushing off the dust. You hear my voice, you hear that sound? Like thunder, gonna shake the ground!”

For many young girls and women around the world who have been victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, this song became our secret “no more” anthem.

“Now, every February you'll be my valentine, valentine.
Let’s go all the way tonight. No regrets, just love.”

Teenage Dream was the next song to flood the arena. A perfect selection for Valentine’s Day which was quickly approaching, but a subtle (yet powerful) message.

What is Love?

As a mother, I think on the message those words send to my daughter that sex is equivalent to love. Sex is not love.

After she and her husband were recorded exchanging punches in a horrifying display of domestic violence, Janay Rice exclaimed to world,

“We will continue to grow and show the world what real love is!”

It was a dangerous message she shouted. Love is not violence and love is not hype.

#MikeBrown, #TamirRice, #EricGarder, #BringBackOurGirls, #YesALLWomen, #YesALLDaughters, #WhyIStayed, #WhyILeft, #BlackLiveMatter, #AllLivesMatter, #NYPDLivesMatter, #TransLivesMatter, #Peshawar, #JeSuisCharlie. #WeAreNotAfraid!

But we are.

As 2014 came to an end, #LeelahAlcorn was final trending tag of the year. She posted her suicide note on Tumblr one evening, and took her own life the next day. As the story unraveled, it was a devastating tragedy of a child crying out for love and acceptance from her mother and father, and where there should have been an abundance, she found none.

I wonder what our children see when they look at the “love” we put on display for the world. More importantly, I wonder what kind of love it enables them to find in themselves or in others.

When I look, I see way too much hate, blame and violence. As parents, adults, public figures and leaders, we've become negligent and complacent in our responsibilty to one another, especially the future generation.

114 million people tuned in for the halftime show. What would you say to that many listeners if you were given a chance speak? I’d talk about love. I’d shout it, sing it, show it — whatever it took.

I would tell the world, above anything else, love is what has the power to change culture, revolutionize a nation, cross borders, reach people, change people, and even save lives.

It might not make the front page news or sell out at the box office, but the message is that important. This is how I own my voice. You should use yours.

Make it a roar.

Send an open letter to your loved ones and tell them that they matter.

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