I can’t be silent


A few years ago my family went to the Southern California mountains for a snow day. We planned a fun-filled day of skiing and tubing down snowy slopes. As we arrived we headed to the lodge for snacks and a potty break. I got the kids settled and headed to the bathroom. The door to the stall next to me closed and the screaming began. I heard a mother berating her daughter. Her cruel words echoed through the room. Then I heard the slaps and the little girl began crying. I stood frozen in fear.

“I don’t know the details.” I told myself. “It’s none of my business.” I tried to reason with my heart.

I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing. They left the bathroom before me. I washed my hands as a few tears fell from my eyes. I went on with my day but I couldn’t shake the awful feeling inside me. I did nothing. It was horrible. It was wrong. And I stood there silent.

I promised myself next time I would do something.

A couple years later I was shopping at a department store. As I entered the dressing room with a couple pairs of jeans, an angry mom pushed past me. She dragged her child into one of the dressing rooms and began screaming. I heard slaps. I had been in almost the exact same situation a few years before. I felt the same feeling of fear and horror move through my body.

I looked at the dressing room attendant and said, “We have to do something.”

She looked at me with sympathy in her eyes and said, “As an employee, I’m not allowed to say anything. There’s nothing I can do.”

I took a deep breath and walked over to the dressing room. I knocked on the door and said with a timid voice, “Pardon me. I’m not sure what’s going on, but I’m uncomfortable with what I’m hearing.”

The mother responded, “It’s none of your business. We’re fine.”

“But I’m not fine.” I said. “I’m uncomfortable and I’ll wait out here until you come out.”

After a few moments they came out of the dressing room walked past me and left the store.
Did I do enough? Maybe not. But I did something. It was a start.
I showed up. I stood up and said, “I’m uncomfortable.”

My husband and I recently started watching a documentary that explores racism {among other things} in the US in recent history.
A couple days ago I read a news story about police violence against a black man.
And the next day, another very disturbing news story about police violence.
I’m uncomfortable.
We have a problem.

If we see injustice and do nothing we’re not only part of the problem, we are the problem.
We cannot look away.
We cannot sit silently by and do nothing.
We can fight for what is right.
We can say, “I’m uncomfortable.”
It’s not enough, but it’s a start.
One voice, even if it’s squeaky and small, can join with many others to become a roar.
A beautiful, power force for change.
Friends, we need change.


  1. 1st of all, if everyone knew all the details to every incident involving this “racism” topic or police violence then people would back our men and women in blue that go out every day and put their lives on the line EVERY SINGLE DAY. We need to respect our police & appreciate our police. Keep in mind, the media only gives the information they want to get a rise out of people and they’ve done an excellent job at creating a very unfortunate and sad division between our brave law enforcement and the people. For those of us that support our law enforcement, let it be known. They need encouragement, their families that they leave every day to put their lives on the line need comfort and they need to know they are appreciated! Thank you to our police and their families!!!

  2. Wow. How can people compare a child being treated unfairly and harshly to a police officer protecting his own life and doing as he has been professionally trained. I can’t believe so many people are not standing behind our officers. So sad. Ignorance is a scary thing sometimes. I’ve been a fan of this blog, but I’m not so sure anymore.

  3. Why are the negatives reply above about YOU, and not to think about what is going wrong with children, people all around the world? I was last year in a similar situation, as a father slap a child in a train. Nobody said something or did something. Me either……Why, I don’t know, after I thought about it. Maybe it was scary….
    So I will react next time, stand up, do something, say something, just a little bit is better than nothing! So you have my respect how you react in the second situation Lisa.

  4. Was sorry that you did not mention all our wonderful men and women in blue that are killed in the line of duty by bad men, both white and black. Each day they go out to protect the people, not knowing if they will be able to come home to their wives and children and hug them. Each day I pray for protection for both our men and women in blue and for the people who depend on them to be safe. Maybe if everyone put more trust in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, there would not be these senseless killings. When they took God out of everything, the world became a scary place. Many will curse me for mentioning God and His Son, but God and His Son will face everyone during the end times, and they will have the last word.

  5. You’re brave Lisa, and I admire you. If you’re butchered for starting a dialogue, then your post has proven just how far we are from a solution. xoxo

  6. Lisa! Thank you for using your voice. My heart hurts because of so much negativity through this comment feed. Whether enough information was included in this post or not, REGARDLESS, I TRUST YOUR HEART, and I know that you believe in good policemen AND the need to end racism. I see your heart. It’s beautiful. Your post wasn’t a political statement, was it? It was a call to personal responsibility. You did the right thing sticking up for that kiddo. Thank you. You’ve done a good thing in realizing this America is broken, and you’ve chosen to just represent a piece of that brokenness. You weren’t making universal statements. I see that! Keep writing!!

    As for my other sisters and brothers out there commenting, y’all, it doesn’t take that much extra work to just be kind. We could all use a little more compassion and empathy under this burning sun, don’t ya think? Your pain matters, and I can tell you’ve been triggered, and that is so hard. Your pain is heartbreaking. Please use your pain gently to tell your story. We need to hear it, but I sure have a hard time taking it in when your words sound so angry. I’m sensitive over here. Lisa isn’t immune to being hurt either so let’s be gentle. We need each other!

  7. Thank you. Yes something is wrong. Abuse is wrong, physical or verbal. Racism is wrong. Shooting people is wrong, vengeance is not our to take.
    I too am at a loss on what to do…but I also know leaving nasty comments and verbal sparing with words on the comment section of a blog is also NOT okay either.

    Thank you for putting yourself out there Lisa, we do have a problem…

  8. Lisa, you are so right…..and your story is beautifully stated & shared.
    Thank you for sharing!
    We do all need to stand up and begin to ‘do something’~each step is moving forward.

    Love you.

  9. I enjoyed what you wrote… and you’re right… “we” have a problem… but I wonder why so many, including you… have been triggered but this past weeks events….. every week in Chicago…

    “4 Killed, 62 Wounded In July 4th Weekend Shootings Across Chicago”
    “Chicago crosses 2,000 shooting victims this year”

    Most of those shot… most of those killed… are young black men… these headlines have been going on every week for years… even decades… so I’m curious about what sets the most recent tragedies apart for you then the weekly tragedies that have gone on for years… that you and others are now motivated to speak out… not that you shouldn’t… just curious.

    1. As a mom of three young children, I don’t have a lot of time on my hands to watch the news. Personally, I haven’t heard about these events in Chicago. We even have close family members who live in Chicago and rarely do they speak of these things. I’m sure that if I go looking for these kinds of news stories I can find them, but for me personally, I just am not aware. I can’t speak for Lisa but maybe it’s the same with raising a family and running a business.

  10. Yes. And as far as the angry parenting goes, that is EXACTLY why I wrote Triggers:Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. I hear of this kind of out of control spanking and abuse on a regular basis. We ALL need to have a gentler more loving approach to all mankind. Thanks for standing for what is right and good.

  11. I use my voice very often to stand up for what it right. I will use my voice hear to… This post makes me uncomfortable. I love you and I love your work, but no facts have come out and to state we need to start speaking up baffles me…

  12. You’ve just lost a customer with this post.

    I am married to a police officer and work at a police department….90% of the people in my life are LE. How dare you compare child abuse to all the true life knowledge you learned about while watching a documentary… or was it the article you read about police violence that made you an expert? Stop listening to the media who love to sensationalize stories and wait for the true facts to come out in a situation. My husband goes to work every day to protect people like you who form armchair quarterback opinions….he also protects people who assault him, spit on him, curse at him, threaten him,etc etc. Yet he, and all of his brothers and sisters in law enforcement, do it anyway.

    If you can’t be silent about “things” then that’s fine….but make sure you are knowledgeable enough to know what you are talking about first.

    People often ask me where I got the pretty necklace from that I wear daily….I will now have a very different answer.

    1. You might have lost one but you have gained another. Good police officers are amazing and violent ones need to stop bringing disgrace to a profession that requires high morals. As the wife of a member, I fear for his safety every day he’s in uniform and as the mother to a young son, I pray every day he can “pass” so he never has to experience how we treat black men whose “uniform” never comes off.

    2. Well said, I wish I could put my feelings into words the way you did. The necklace I love so much will never be worn again.

    3. Dianne, I completely agree. I will be unfollowing this nonsense immediately. I love how the public suddenly thinks they have police badges and law degrees. I am sickened to see people blindly take what the media is trying to spoon feed us. How about we let these officers have a proper investigation before casting stones. They have a job that us civilians can not even comprehend. I’m so over people who think all police are racist. I definitely won’t be ordering any overpriced jewelry from this person. I pray she or her family never need the police, but if she does, I guarantee there will be an officer that would put his or her life on the line to serve and protect because that is what they do. This hate and nonsense needs to end.

    4. Please calm down. I am the daughter of a police officer and I understand the armchair quarterbacking that makes you so upset…however…as many others have said, it is not against police to hold them to a high standard of behavior and I would think that you would be as upset as I am that the profession my father and your husband have dedicated their lives to is smeared by the violence of a few.

    5. You are so right. She’s lost me too. I also “have a problem” with this post. If her precious family were in the front lines, her viewpoint would be different. And I can only hope she is disciplining her children as a responsible adult should also and not leaving them to their own vices as so many parents do nowadays to have created the current degraded societal situations surrounding us.

  13. Lisa, I’m proud of you for taking a stand. You did something; you put that woman on notice. As for the dressing room attendant, her statement was unacceptable. She has a moral obligation, as we all do as humans to intercept abusive situations, whether it be against a child or an adult.
    Remember, there’s 3 numbers on your phone you can always dial for back up. 9-1-1.

  14. Thank you, Lisa. Many years ago, I was that little child in the dressing room. Screaming, physical/emotional/mental abuse — fear, anxiety, always wanting to please but never quite achieving it — that was me. THANK YOU. Even now, after all these years, your words help.
    I agree with everything you’re saying here. It DOES start with one small voice saying “I’m uncomfortable with this.”
    It starts within a heart.
    Someday — everyone.

  15. I’m using my voice to say that it’s negligent to bring up cases that we, the public, do not even have all the information about.
    I started to hear your message but it got lost when you began talking about police violence. I’d like to hear about the violence against police etc.

  16. Lisa, I admire you for your gentle and kind words you have shared. As a Mom of a special needs daughter(autism non- verbal) I feel like you, we need to LOVE one another.I agreed with Anna we need to start “doing something”.Hugs Martha.

  17. Lisa how can you mention the injustices this week and not mention the assassination of 5 police officers? We have a problem for sure. And the murder of 5 innocent officers is no less tragic or horrendous than the killing of those two black man this week. I am disappointed you would mention one and not the other.

      1. Then why not mention it?! Your one-sided sappy post showed where your heart is. It is truly, sadly uneducated and lacking.

    1. Kristin, I am appalled you would even sit there and leave such a rediculous comment to such an important piece. What difference does it make what specific tragedy (yes tragedy) that Lisa chose to put a voice to in this post. At least she is putting things out there and helping spread awareness. There are horrific things happening every moment of every day. Get off your high horse and be a voice of love and compassion not criticism.

      Just like this article says we need to stand up. We need to love and accept and stop violence and hatred. No mor criticizing lets work on praise! Lisa, thank you for using you platform to help spotlight issues that are so often swept under the rug. We need to make a difference.

      1. Amber ….you said “we need to stand up” “stop criticizing” and look what you did in your hypocritical response.
        Kristin is allowed to verbalize her views even though they are contrary to yours.

        1. I’m with Kristin. We need to teach love, not promote prejudice or judgment. My husband is a police officer- a good one. As with every profession, race, gender or any other category you use, there will be good and bad.
          My husband is a good man- a combat veteran, a stellar police officer, an awesome husband and an amazing father. Frankly, I’m sick of the bashing. He has and continues to sacrifice so much in his service to others. He has yet to spend a Thanksgiving or Christmas (among other holidays) with our 4 year old son. People hate him simply because of his profession. Enough is enough. The last weekend he had off, he was approached while entertaining our 3 year old in the toy section of Target while I was grocery shopping. This man continued to follow and threaten him throughout the store while he tried to find me to keep our son safe so he could deal with the possible threat. When do we get justice? When does his life (and my son’s life) matter? When will people stand up and say that ALL lives matter?
          Please stop just reading headlines and actually do some research. In one of the recent cases an innocent officer’s life and his family’s lives were put in jeopardy when he wss falsely identified but in reality was not even involved.
          P.S. Since race appears to matter so much these days (although I find it irrelevant), while my husband is white, I am not. Stop feeding into the idea that all police officers are racists (they also come in all shapes, colors and gender).

      2. Absolutely Amber. And the FACTS just keep coming out. There is nothing anyone can say until we know THE WHOLE STORY. Which is why this article is hateful.

    2. How is it that none of you have the simple common sense and empathy to understand that when you keep beating a dog, it will eventually bite you? The killing of police is tragic, but Stevie Wonder could have seen it coming. Group of people being oppressed + social network through which to share horror stories + political environment of prejudice = anger and activation of movements, some peaceful, some militant, just like the ’60s. It’s simple science, and it’s happened around the world thousands of times over.

      No one with a lick of sense can deny that racism is rampant in American society, especially when you go to other Western countries with heavy non-white populations and see how integrated they are, with biracial couples left and right. I find it embarassing.

      Plus, in terms of policing, tons of reputable studies have been done on the many times more often black criminals are shot to death over white criminals: 3 to 10 times more often, depending on the study. That’s just the actual criminals, let alone what’s happening on the streets. This is a systemic problem. It doesn’t even matter if there’s some diminishing back story to the current murders…and they were murders. It’s on video. I can see it with my own eyes. Officers should not be allowed to shoot anyone being detained when a baton or taser would have been just as effective. You don’t get to just erase someone’s child, husband, father without due process.

      You are probably the same people saying, “All lives matter.” Well, let me fill you in on a secret. White lives have ALWAYS mattered. No one needs to say it. We all know it very well. That is the point.

      The white population is so used to being the majority in control, “allowing” other groups to have rights whenever they have decided it was the right time, or it made them feel good about themselves, so when a group or a TV channel or a movement of a minority group happens, they actually feel offended and excluded! How silly is that? So the very thing the white population has been doing to groups for hundreds of years now, other populations aren’t allowed to do back? Who made white people the boss?

      Seriously, people. Not all blacks could vote in the baby boomer’s lifetime! You think that one generation barely allowed rights, and in the next generation, everything is rainbows and smiley faces? The level of ignorance is mind-blowing.

      I am so thankful for people like Lisa. There need to be more people from all backgrounds who just call it like it is. I’ve noticed a lot of light bulbs turning on across the white population from seeing all the stories, situations and racist rants on social media. Finally, people are being filled in on what day-to-day life ACTUALLY is like for people of color in America, not what they WISH it would be. Don’t diminish the spread of education that is happening. And don’t answer back with indignation about not including one tragedy when there are thousands of blacks who have been murdered in this country without due process. Don’t take a black problem and make it about white people again. It’s self-indulgent and, quite frankly, childish.

      Try being part of the solution for systemic racism, so that angry people DON’T turn on police. That is the only logical solution. You correct the core cause, not the symptoms.

      1. THIS. Thank you for being a voice of reason.

        As for all of you “MY HUSBAND IS A COP AND AND AND!!!!!!!!!” I am just DONE and am going to say it, loud and clear:




        How DARE you stand there and act like you know better than the victims of racist violence what the actual deal is? How DARE you be so willfully obtuse as to stand there and scream, “ALL LIVES MATTER!” as if you don’t know damn well that the subtext of Black Lives Matter is “too,” not “only”? How DARE you stand there and pretend that white people and police officers don’t get protection, “justice” (even when not deserved) and the benefit of the doubt every single damn day from EVERYONE while the victims of their oppression NEVER GET ANY? HOW DARE YOU.

        Let’s be real. You SAY “all lives matter,” but what you MEAN is, “can we go back to white and blue lives mattering most?!” You simply cannot handle ANYTHING not being 100% about you at all times! Nothing is EVER more important than your precious, privileged, and overwhelmingly white feelings, certainly not the ACTUAL LIVES of those “thugs” and “low lifes” that your perfect husbands “keep in line” every day out in the street, right?

        So again, I repeat: SHUT UP. STOP TALKING, LISTEN, AND LEARN SOMETHING FOR ONCE! And were I Lisa, I’d be PROUD that my words (true, empathetic and ROOTED IN REALITY, unlike ANY of you) lost me (or more accurately, weeded out) customers such as yourselves.

        Good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

  18. It is very hard sometimes to step in and intervene in a situation.
    I get in trouble a lot because I do step in. I have put myself into some sticky situations. I broke up a fight in a canyon by my sons junior high school. I received congratulations by some people and chastisement from others. I’m glad that I stepped in. The boy would have died that day. He sustained many injuries. My son became friends with him a few years later. The young man put 2 and 2 together and told my son to thank me for saving his life that day. I was glad to be able to watch him graduate from high school.

    1. How so? Violence starts somewhere. Not taking a stand and not putting your self in an uncomfortable enough situation to finally have the courage to do something needs to start somewhere!

  19. Thank you, Lisa. Thank you for speaking out, because this impacts my children. I raised my own timid squeaky voice yesterday. tiffanydarling.com

  20. I too appreciate this sharing! I feel like I have a verbal tool using the words “I feel uncomfortable”. Thank you Lisa. Yes it is a start! One little step at a time especially for us who are more shy and timid about making that first step.

  21. Thank you for sharing a simple way to start the process of ” doing something”. So many of us just need to know where to start.

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