With Barbara Bush’s passing, I was reminded of the work she did in the area of literacy. Barbara focused her influence in this area and raised over $100 million toward the cause. Obviously, as the wife of one president and mother of another, she had tremendous influence but not all those in that position utilize their chance to have a platform.

I think of others who are in a role that affords them access and a voice. Colin Kaepernick is only one of the hundreds of professional athletes. Unfortunately, David Hogg and Emma Gonzales are but two of a much larger group of mass shooting victims. Ali Raisman was but one of the Olympians and Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan two of many actresses who could have raised the issue of harassment. Sheryl Sandberg isn’t the only female executive and Al Gore isn’t the only politician, but they are the ones who spoke out.

While these may be some of the more well-known names, everyday people are in a position to use their voice. The department head can make policies or advocate for fair treatment of women. The student can raise issues of inclusion. The secretary can put out a recycle bin and start environmental efforts in her area. The teacher can introduce works from different cultures or case studies that feature non-white men in prominent roles. Grade school kids can advocate for friendship benches and the average citizen can promote literacy.

We all have opportunities to use our voice, but many remain silent. Don’t let fear compel you to walk past the microphone. Instead, have the courage to speak out for a cause that is important to you and drop the mic instead.

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