Good Afternoon, readers! Lens of The People is a column dedicated to the capture of the real-life scenarios and events in the local Houston area whilst also giving the thoughts and opinions of the Houston community itself its own voice to speak through.
Social issues are an everyday challenge that we as human beings have been trying to overcome for years. From race relations to gender equality, we’re always making strides, however slowly, to become more inclusive and non-divisive as possible, all while ensuring that everyone is constantly being treated fairly based on their inherent character. Many groups have been formed over the years, all in the effort to progress social equality and speak up for unheard voices. But it doesn’t take a big million-dollar organization to make a difference. Which brings me to the question for all the readers out there.
What social issues are you passionate about, and how do you work to make those issues known?
“I am a huge advocate for mental health and removing the stigma that only extremely traumatic cases are important, especially in my community where that stigma is incredibly prevalent. I, myself, have gone to therapy and counseling consistently for three years now, and in that time, I earned a college degree and started a small business. Therapy is not just for one group of people and not some sort of weird punishment. It is a tool to help you achieve goals and actualize the steps you need to take to get where you’d like to be in life. My business, Crystal Dreams HTX, also deals with my passion for mental health through crystal healing and energies. I think the overall mindset and the cybernetic settings are the first place to start improving a community. Coming from a community of people who were removed from their original homes and displaced all over the world created a great amount of chaos, confusion and general discomfort. Now add systems and institutions that actively work against those same people. It all eventually adds up to alienation, disassociation and even identity crisis. I want to spread the message that we are exactly where we are supposed to be and that we can change our minds at any time. It is certainly not easy, but it is worth it.” –Moremi Adetunji
“As a person who suffers from anxiety and depression, I would like to see mental health being discussed more in classrooms. Kids aren’t educated enough in mental health to know how important it is for their overall health. Also, since it’s not discussed often, the signs of mental illness are disregarded leading to many issues and in some cases, tragedy. Remember that just because you can’t see anything physically wrong, doesn’t mean there isn’t something wrong. A healthy mind is vital for a healthy community.” -Jocelyn Melissa
“I think that anyone trying to help a community needs to do their research. Talk to people in the community. Talk to people outside of that community. Try to find out what the root problem is and see what can realistically be done. Learn as much as they can from people and then move on to history. Learn about where the community started and how they got where they are now, because the more people understand changes that have already occurred, the easier it is to make changes in the present.”-Brianna Kelley
“I think a big help is advocating on social media. I use social media all the time to inform, uplift and call people to action. Whether your platform is big or small, being vocal on social media about certain issues is helpful. I also recommend being informed on certain issues and facing your fears when you are vocal about your beliefs. Walking into something without having knowledge on the situation is ridiculous and you come across that often on social media. Do your research. If you’re an ally for groups like the LGBTQ+ community, women’s rights, or something involving race relations, then don’t expect for people apart of those marginalized groups to hand you information. If they do send links or inform you, it’s a privilege—not something guaranteed to you. Respect and recognize the boundaries. Back to allyship, you can’t pick and choose when you want to speak up and help out. If you’re genuinely passionate about it, you’ll do it regardless of anyone or anything. The same thing applies to people who are apart of those marginalized groups. If you want to fight for change, you have to be ready to be at the forefront at any time.” –Janaya Britton
As for myself, I’ve always had a deep compassion for the social plights of people everywhere. I think it’s fascinating that because of one’s perspective, whether it be because of the way you were raised or simple ignorance to the issues at hand because of where you are, oftentimes we become blind to things that, once brought up in a way that forces us to change our perspective, seem like common sense. I’m always doing my best to keep myself open to new perspectives, and I think the best way I do that currently is with this column here. I enjoy bringing up different topics and hearing the multiple dimensions of something I might have thought to be simple. I think that simply opening your mind, as well as your ears to the thoughts and perspectives of others, one can learn a great deal about many different people.
This was Lens of The People, a column dedicated to giving the Houston community a voice and a platform. Stay on the lookout for more, all made possible by The Forward Times!