Who Hears Your Voice?

There is a lot of unrest in America — and indeed, throughout the world — and much of it seems to stem from people feeling that their voice is not being heard.

The most recent example of this is the protests springing up around the country following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death has sparked protests against police brutality of black men, and African-American communities are demanding to be heard.

This is hardly the only example, however.

Recently, there were anti-lockdown protests in a number of cities. Many of those protesters also complained about not being heard by state or local officials.

Also, women have been more and more frustrated that their voices are not included when decisions are made about women’s health. Many decision-making groups are made up of mostly or all men. As a result, the female voice is absent.

Many rural residents feel that financial and regulatory decisions are increasingly made in cities, for cities. The interests, needs, and wants of rural constituents, they feel, are not included.

All of these examples have led to political and social unrest. People who feel they are unheard grow more frustrated. As a result, they become more insistent that leaders listen to them. That can take the form of protests, boycotts, intimidation, threats, or violence.

Do you share these feelings of voicelessness? In your life, who hears your voice? Your city, state, or federal governmental representative? Your friends and family? What about your boss, or your union representative? How about a religious leader?

Being heard, or at least the feeling of being heard, can be extremely powerful. Do you receive that in your life? Where?

Related questions: Whose voice do you hear? What is your voice? What makes a community? How can we encourage debate?

2 thoughts on “Who Hears Your Voice?”

  1. I’ve devoted my career to addressing homelessness, the need for affordable housing, and the urgency for more renters’ rights and tenant protections. I’ve tried to elevate the voices of those with current- or recently-lived experience. When I’ve succeeded in amplifying these voices, it’s proven much more effective than listening to me — someone who has the right relationships, knows the facts and figures, and whose past includes years of living in extremely poor quality housing. However, that lived experience is from a very long time ago.

    Today, the shortage of affordable housing is much greater than what it was when I started my professional career in this field over 20 years ago. Also, technological “advances” have significantly increased the power landlords over the needs of those searching for a quality place to live (e.g. internet access to people’s court records, the advent of tenant screening agencies which have access to — sometimes inaccurate — credit, housing, and criminal histories).

    And so I walk the halls of Minnesota’s Capitol, reaching out to any legislator who will listen. My years of lobbying access and experience afford me an incredible amount of power when weighed against those whose voices need to be heard more. But when I’ve brought someone like Shelly (who could talk directly about the role domestic violence plays in homelessness) or David (who couldn’t secure housing because he, while working, had been doing so while living in his car) their stories resonated much more than the data I could report or even the powerful stories I could tell.

    The lesson: those with living in unjust conditions need to be heard more. And they need to be heard face-to-face by those in power.

    Of course, I need to acknowledge that as a white man, my voice has carried more weight than is warranted in proportion to the marginalized populations on whose behalf I work. Sometimes I see this injustice taking place; sometimes, I am oblivious. In the cases where I see this happening, I need to remedy it; in the cases where I do not recognize it’s happening, I need to be called out.

  2. God hears. He hears, not just the voices, but the anguish in the hearts of the people of the world. And He is listening, and taking note of all that is happening. Human leaders seek only to quiet and pacify their people. Even if they have the desire to meet their people’s needs, they lack the ability and fortitude to do so. God, does not. He WILL act, when the time is right.
    In the meantime, I will continue to teach others about how to find peace and assurance from God and do my best to “be peaceable with all men.” Romans 12:18

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