Megan Wolfe: A kinder society, yes, but we need justice, too

More civility and kindness is necessary, but true kindness can’t ignore injustice and oppression.

Megan Wolfe is executive director of Girls on the Run of Snohomish County. (Girls on the Run of Snohomish County)

Megan Wolfe is executive director of Girls on the Run of Snohomish County. (Girls on the Run of Snohomish County)

By Megan Wolfe / Herald Forum

Lately I’ve seen a lot of calls for a return to civility and kindness locally and nationally.

I agree that living in a kinder, more civil community would be wonderful, but I believe there is a big difference in what people mean when they say they want the world to be a kinder place. From what I’ve seen, many of those calling for kindness in our society are actually wanting a return to a time when their bigotry and prejudice went unquestioned or unchallenged. They want a return to a system of quiet acceptance of discrimination and hate.

I’d love for us to live in a kinder society. A society that puts people’s needs first and foremost. A society that sees people being oppressed and stands up and says “this cannot continue.” The most kind leaders I see in our community are actively fighting for a more just world.

Kindness is standing up for others, standing up against oppression and the oppressors, standing up for what is right, standing up for other people’s humanity. Kindness means that we are fighting for people from all walks of life to have access to housing, food, health care, and support. A kinder society would have less hate being spewed by leaders and neighbors and would be focused on how to solve problems instead of winning power.

The kindness I want to see in Snohomish County is leaders who get loud about the systems of oppression that hold us all back. I want to see my friends and neighbors speaking up about hate and discrimination in our community.

I believe a truly kind community would be working hard to make sure every member of the community has housing and food, that mental health crises are handled with compassion and empathy, that all our schools are top notch no matter what neighborhood they are in. A kinder society would never put up with blatant or subtle racism, homophobia, transphobia or misogyny.

A kinder society would be a wonderful place to live and it will take all of us to get there. So get loud about injustice and start spreading kindness by standing up to bigotry and hatred in our society.

Megan Wolfe is executive director for Girls on the Run, Snohomish County, which offers programs for girls in third- through eighth-grade.

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