Huffington Post: Courage Beyond The March

We marched. Across the planet, humanity marched. Not in hate, but in togetherness. For our children, for our neighbours and for ourselves. People took to their streets to set their vision for the World around us. To make clear that division is not acceptable and the fight for true equality is not over.

Marches like those held this weekend can start a revolution. They communicate our priorities to political leaders setting down what we will, and will not, stand for. But in our passion, and for some: anger - we must not allow ourselves to be blinded to where the responsibility for change sits. For it sits, not only with politicians, but also with all of us as individuals and as constituents of our communities.

We must lobby our elected representatives, and tell them what World we want to live in. When our politicians fall short, we should let them know it. But we must also recognise that these individuals were elected by people within our own homes, towns and communities. Policies of inequality are nourished by everyday indifference; rhetoric of division is uncritically adopted by the neighbour next door.

Our march does not end once the placards are downed: we need to build stronger and more cohesive communities, and change the standard of our political discourse at dinner tables, on WhatsApp and in shops and town halls around the world. Not only to challenge inequality, but to include people who otherwise could be susceptible to the easy answers of hate.

Stand up and have the dialogue so sorely needed in your communities. Overcome the divisions that exist, and start a conversation. Build the empathy needed for people to realise that the divisionary world-view they have inherited or constructed has no place in our shared futures. Find out why an individual may have voted for someone who politically you cannot support. We need every individual who attended, or felt inspired by the marches to go and have a conversation. Because it is our communities that need to change. We, our communities, elected these leaders. And only we can change the future of our politics.

Our political leaders are mirrors of our communities; the good, the bad and the ugly. We must end the alienation of division. We must eviscerate the blindness, fear, misunderstanding and misogyny that allow sexism, racism, xenophobia and hatred of those who live, and love, differently to us, to continue. Equally more people who have the courage to drive change, and who share our values of inclusion must put themselves forward for public office. Only then will political representation truly change.

Because we do have the power to elect individuals who respect, share and further our values. Also to challenge journalists and celebrities who empower the politics of hate. But we can only do this is we come together as communities. If we only speak to ourselves, we will not achieve our goals. Therefore, do not shrink away from your actions today, but now take the more difficult step of building bridges locally in your community through dialogue. Because if we only speak to those in violent agreement with us, we won’t progress anywhere.

We have the power to prevent and end division. To build a more representative politics. This was the first courageous step. We have the passion, we have the numbers, we have the unity. But we must do it on the streets of our own communities. We must have the conversations so many are hesitant to have because at home, it is harder. It may not get in the headlines. You will encounter disagreement or opposition. But it is in your home, your child’s school, and the coffee shop, that you can truly change hearts and minds and begin to elect a political class representative of you, of us.

This could be the start of a revolution. But this revolution starts at home, and it must start now.