Activism: Clint Smith and The Danger of Silence

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.   ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968

Clint Smith has provided one of the best TED talks I’ve seen on the hidden power of everyday advocacy – advocacy is not just found in prolific uprisings and protests of society’s activists, but also in our own simple refusal to keep quiet when we are confronted with the wrongs of the world in our daily lives.  You can be an activist in your smallest of circles and with your smallest of actions.

Smith reflects, “Everyday all around us, we see the consequences of silence manifest themselves in the form of discrimination, violence, genocide, and war.” Systemic atrocities or institutional violence/discrimination are not born overnight – they begin with a trickle of negativity or intolerance that is permitted by our silence to grow into a cascade of dangerous, galvanized action.

In his classroom, he encourages his students to find ways to open up and fill the void left by silence with these four core principles:

Read critically. Write consciously.  Speak clearly.  And tell your truth.

Call to Action 

Listen to this talk.  Enjoy the cadence of this man’s spoken word.  And then, I encourage you all to find your voice and speak up when injustice sneaks its way into the world around you.

“Validation doesn’t need words to endorse its existence.” 

Advertisements

Shameless Plug: Help me fund my public interest law firm in ONE WEEK!

For those of you for whom I do not have email addresses: 

Dear Inner Tribe of Friends, Family, and Colleagues,

Thanks for taking the time to read this message! As most of you know, I moved to Portland shortly after earning my law and environmental masters degrees. I moved here for several reasons – the amazing landscape, temperate seasons, tasty food, amazing craft beer, active outdoor/mountaineering community, and to finally fulfill my childhood dream of journeying out West for adventures. But the most important reason I moved here is to fulfill my ultimate professional goal of protecting the environment and those people most impacted by its degradation.

The road hasn’t been easy – traditional governmental and non-profit jobs are scarce in a market saturated with new lawyers and environmental professionals. But if there is one thing I have learned in the past two years, it is this: There may be a shortage of jobs, but there is not a shortage of work to be done. And so, I realized that I must carve my own path toward helping the greater good.

But I need your help.

I wish to open my own private public interest law and consulting firm. A private public interest law firm is a rarely-utilized, hybrid-structured firm that is dedicated to promoting social, political, environmental, and economic welfare, while maintaining a profit-generating arm that keeps firm financially sustainable without the assistance of grants. In my firm, my areas of practice will be strictly harmonious to public interest ideals, so as not to undermine the integrity of my public interest work. I intend to work with low-income, minority, and tribal communities to ensure their voices are heard in regard to environmental decisions that directly impact their well-being.

My profit-generating practice areas will include FOIA requests and FOIA litigation, benefit company formation and annual reporting, non-profit formation and assistance with organizational best practices, employee rights, disability rights, and real property due diligence for property redevelopment. As my expertise grows and my team expands, I hope to increase my impact.

I am currently a woman-owned sole proprietorship functioning as a contract attorney. This means that my clients are my fellow attorneys and I am under their direct supervision. I have spent the past two and a half years cultivating my legal skills under the guidance of several amazing lawyers in Portland. But now is the time for me to step up – there is a lot of work to be done, and I have the skills necessary to contribute meaningfully to the greater good. 

How can you help?

Oregon lawyers are required to purchase malpractice insurance before they are able to independently take clients. Due to these restrictions, my earning potential is limited, and this has negatively impacted my ability to acquire enough capital to form my firm.

In one week’s time, I will be launching a crowd funding campaign on indiegogo.com to raise $7,500.00 in funds. In addition to being able to finally purchase malpractice insurance, these funds will go to the following expenses: marketing and branding consulting, website assistance, assorted legal software, business entity formation, and a few pieces of office equipment. Please note that I intend to be an Oregon benefit company and engage in sustainable business practices.

While I cannot as a lawyer offer direct perks to individual donors because it may affect my professional independence, for every $250 raised, I will donate one hour of my time to help preserve Native Alaskan water rights and keep harmful chemical dispersants out of Arctic waters.  If we get past $7,500.00, I’ll double those hours.

Irrespective of your individual ability to give, I want to thank each and every one of you for helping me in some capacity along this journey – it truly takes a village of all kinds of support to begin your own venture, and you all have given me just that. If you can’t donate yourself, please pass the word on to someone who loves the environment as much as I do!

I look forward to your participation in the Sharing Economy.

Yours Truly,

Kellie