Your voice has power. We use it every day to communicate our wants and needs and to talk to others. Swedish Musicologist Johan Sundberg once said: “The human voice has been called ‘the mirror to our soul.” And an early pioneer of voice study, Roy Hart, called the voice “the muscle of the soul.” That’s why it is important for you to speak out about causes you hold dear.
Last week, actress Uma Thurman wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in response to Texas’ new abortion law. Thurman revealed her own experience having an abortion in her teen years and said she is grief-stricken because the law pits citizen against citizen, “creating new vigilantes who will prey on these disadvantaged women, denying them the choice not to have children they are not equipped to care for, or extinguishing their hopes for the future family they might choose.”
Women in Afghanistan are similarly speaking out against what they see as injustice. They are holding protests and carrying signs decrying the treatment of women under the new Taliban regime. Some of the women have been whipped and beaten for their defiant stances and bravery. One of the women said she feels if they do not raise their voices, the treatment will become common and the world will not “feel” the situation they are in.
What we have to say—whatever that is—has value and we must believe that. Part of the power of our voices lies in the fact that when we speak our truths a resonance happens in our chests and this feels a lot like freedom. And when we raise our voices with others, we experience connection and solidarity.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a woman I really admire, once said, “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I’m not going to be silent.” So how can you develop and share your voice, your passions, your beliefs with others?
8 Ways to Use Your Voice and Be Heard
- You can write newspaper op-eds. Anyone can write and submit them to local or national newspapers. As Harvard University explains, an op-ed (or opinion-editorial) is short (usually 800 words maximum), with a clearly defined main point and a clearly defined point of view, and it showcases “the strong, unique voice of the writer.”
- You can add your name to an already existing petition to affect change or start your own. Change.org and Moveon.org are two places you can find petitions on a range of topics, including climate justice, racial justice, healthcare rights, and more.
- You can write to companies that are doing things you don’t agree with or in support of companies who take a stance with which you agree. For example, Patagonia, HP, and Microsoft all publicly made statements against the voting restrictions in Texas. Patagonia also took a stand last week against Texas’ abortion ban. Use the company’s website to contact them.
- Start a blog on your website or on Medium or Tumblr. The key to having a successful blog is to post regularly (and to use proper SEO) but blogs are a great way to consistently express yourself. (You could also use the space to post poetry or other kinds of writing, related to your platform.)
- You could start a podcast or YouTube show devoted to causes you hold dear. You could invite guests to your episodes or be a guest on other people’s podcasts or shows. Making the podcast or show have a theme will help you find your audience.
- Use your voice on all social media platforms. We are fortunate to live in the twenty-first century where we can communicate worldwide with the click of a “post”. Social media allows us to connect with something bigger than ourselves and lets us find others who feel similar about the same causes.
- Speak your mind to friends and family. Words are a non-violent way to “fight” for your rights or to combat injustice. (Where would girls and women in the U.S. be if not for those who have spoken out against Harvey Weinstein, Marilyn Manson, R. Kelly, Jeffrey Epstein and others, and said #MeToo?)
- Comment on other people’s social media, on discussion boards, etc. And don’t be afraid to write to elected officials and comment on their social media posts, or to engage with them at town-hall meetings and other events.
Using your voice is one of the ways to ignite change. Every time we open our mouths, whether to speak or sing, we empower ourselves and become champions of change.