Every day it feels as though we’ve woken into some new nightmare.
Whether it’s war, terrorism or white supremacy, there isn’t much on the news to feel good about. It’s a never ending cycle of anger and hatred.
Sometimes it’s hard to look directly at it.
I know I live a relatively privileged life: I have a home, in a safe town, a job and food to eat. No one is trying to hurt me or destroy my way of life. Not everyone is so fortunate.
There isn’t much I can do to tackle some of the problems facing our society. But there is one thing I can offer.
I can choose not to look away.
It’s hard these days to watch the news, to scroll through the endless anger on Twitter, the photographs of screaming men with torches or the videos of children crying for their deported parents.
It would be all too easy to switch off; to argue that this doesn’t affect my daily life. It’s depressing and I have enough of my own problems.
I’m lucky to able to switch off the television when it all gets too much, but some people have to live this every day. It’s their reality and it’s only getting worse.
Imagine how it would feel to be hated and abused, denied safety or have your rights slowly stripped away, all the while knowing that no one cares enough to help.
It might not be much, but I can read someone’s story and I can empathise. I can remember it; carry the message around with me until it affects my worldview. I can share it with people who don’t read as much as I do. I can shine a light on a small, shadowy corner of the world.
And if the time comes when there is something more I can do, I’ll be ready.
I’d like to think that if I needed help, someone out there would be listening.
If everyone turned away, to hide in the shadows, the world would only get darker. Now is the time to share stories and learn from them, if we ever want to build a society that treats everyone as though they have a voice and a valuable part to play.