The writer of this blog contacted me this week via email with the words:
“Dear Carol ~~ I’m not exactly sure how to begin this letter. How does one begin such a letter to a mother so full of love despite the heartwrenching pain?”
And then I read her blog that was written on October 14, 2012. Reading her words now ~ 2 years and 3 months and one day later, her words are filled with sadness, shock and emotions. The words she has written are ringing more true than ever. Amanda’s death (no matter how we describe it) has indeed been a call to action. She continues to wake people up as to how vulnerable the people living in it are. It doesn’t seem to matter whether we are describing youth, young adults or older adults. There is a raw emotional need to fit in but yet, we need to know how to respect each others differences in the fitting in process. I hope that you can share this blog as it was written with the raw emotion of a young woman days after Amanda’s death. And it was in those days that I only remember living in automation and being guided by those and loved and cared about me. I will always be thankful and grateful because if this hadn’t happened, I am not sure if Amanda’s Legacy would have been created. Thank you Brie xoxo
I am wracked with pain over the recent death of Amanda Todd, whose devastating line-up of experiences lead to her choice to end her life. Having worked with young women for over a decade to inspire their sense of confidence and community, I am moved to speak to this issue.
In a fleeting single moment informed by vulnerability, Amanda Todd made a choice that changed the course of her destiny. She objectified herself to find external affirmation because that experience outshone what it was for her to source it from within. Her choice represents that of hundreds that have simply gone unseen. It speaks to a sexually exploiting cultural fabric in which young women are challenged to know their own boundaries, to say nothing of their true and inherent worth. Youth are taught roles and value before they have the maturity to moderate their understanding of where stereotypes are coming from. A culture that presents such a narrow range of options for whole construction of identity is not a healthy one. Nor is one in which one man’s deleterious choice to blackmail – enough harm done – eilicits a domino effect: a whole troop of youth bring physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual violence to an aching member of their community.
As a society, we are all accountable. Amanda’s death is a call to action. We must bring medicine to remedy the social malheurs that befall our communities. This I know is true: Youth are sensitive and emotional; they move with inspiration or desparation. They are vulnerable, but taught their own strength, are courageous as hell. Connection and community forge pathways through the fearful social climate they navigate every day. What if the youth around Amanda had learned healthy, constructive, and non-violent communication strategies to find their way clear? What if Amanda Todd had known the value of loving the skin she’s in? What if media literacy were considered as valuable as literacy and young women were taught to take a stand not only for the legacy they want to create, but for the value of community and connectivity in creating it. What if a young woman was taught to value her substance, complexity, and unique humanity more than her body parts?
I believe in the power of social change movements.
Join me by lighting a candle this evening and setting an intention for the world you want to see. May we begin by contemplating the light that shines within us. From this recognition, what world can we envision? What one thing will you do for a teen in your life today? What conversation will you have tomorrow? What will you teach? Who will you be?
Yours in creating a more loving world for young women,