The Impact of Our Voices

Living in the bubble of Chapel Hill, the Silent Sam controversy engulfed us all this year. We live and study in such a polarized state that it’s difficult to comprehend the fact that there are people outside of this little bubble that support us. Sometimes its good to get the reminder that there is good in the world. And sometimes it comes in the form of a woman named Logan Browning. While she’s been an actress for many years, she’s best known for her role as Sam White in the Netflix TV series, “Dear White People“. Judging from the name of the show you can probably tell that its controversial and commands a niche audience. Neither of those things should be true. “Dear White People” deals with the experiences of minorities on predominantly white campuses and what it means to be an activist on campus. That’s precisely what Logan came to UNC to talk about. I went in with the expectation of learning more about the campus activist experience and came out with a newfound appreciation for public figures who use their platforms to change their communities.

Here’s just a few things she said that resonated with me:

  1. “Your storytelling is the way you continue to protect your history.” While the history books are full of white men oppressing the rest of the population, it is time we change our present and start telling our stories so our history, from here on out, doesn’t get erased.
  2. “If you have the platform, do you have the luxury to say, ‘not today’?” Logan is so aware of the voice she’s been given and she’s been using it to help guide the lives of so many others. Imagine what would happen if all public figures used their platforms to help advance causes they were passionate about instead of just talking about them.
  3. “Tell me how I can help you.” Easily the most surprising part of the night, for me, was when she said this. Usually, when people come to talk on campus, they say their piece, answer a few questions and leave. It’s rare that we get to hear from them again. Not only did Logan listen to what we had to say, she told the audience to actively use her as a resource. How many public figures would do that for a group of student from a random public university?

Last night not only clarified my views on campus activism, but also made me realize that we all have bigger platforms and voices than we think. Our actions are not contained. We have an impact beyond just our immediate circle. The decision lies in whether we use it or not.

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