NFI’s desire over the decades of our involvement with the Saharawi people has been to help unheard, forgotten, ignored voices to be heard. We pursue those goals through advocacy – using our own voices on their behalf – and teaching English – so they can share their story in a language the world understands. Yet the ultimate goal is not just to add their voices to the soundscape of the world, but that the world would be reminded of some significant gaps in justice and be moved to address them.

The recently unfolding events of our own country have brought to the forefront another set of voices that have largely gone unnoticed for far too long. These are the voices that have principally experienced a long history tainted with racism, violence and an oppressive system, and they are coming together now, refusing to be ignored any longer. These voices are afraid, angry, grieving – and they have been for as long as they can remember. Our country is filled with people whose stories some of us can’t even begin to imagine, partly because we’ve refused to listen and consider what they have to say.

To anyone reading this who has not been personally affected by racial inequality (I, the writer, fall into this camp), please consider finding someone who has, even if you find just a story on the internet. There are plenty. Regardless of your convictions about protest or police, nothing can improve in our nation until we stop assuming our experience is the same as ultimate reality and start listening to others.

I have been attempting that just over the last few years and can promise you that it is worth it. While there have been difficult things to wrestle with about the society that has been so good to me and about myself, ultimately my experience is so much richer, my love for others so much more real, because of it. So please, don’t overlook or discredit the voices telling you things that are hard to hear. Listen. Wrestle. And let’s unite to push our country to be good for everyone involved. NFI stands for the dignity of all and we continue to push for listening to stories that are not like our own.

Post By: Heather Jost, June 5th, 2020

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