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There are times in our lives when we have to stop and look outside of ourselves. We have to put down our morning coffee and say, “I am tired of the status quo. I want to make a difference in this world. Things have to change.”

Today is one of those days. I am sure it is one of those days for many Americans. This year alone there have been 355 mass shootings in our schools, theaters, streets, and homes. I used to be afraid to go to Mexico because of the violence there, now I question getting on a bus or going to the zoo. Our streets have become a war zone and the casualties are mounting every day. If today is like most days this year, there will be another shooting today with more innocent lives brutally taken.

It is easy to put back in our earbuds and play our favorite music. It is easy to get out our cellphone and take a selfie on our way to work or to meet a friend. It is easy to close our eyes and think there is nothing I can do about this. It is easy to say, “I am helpless.”

The truth is you are not helpless. Changing this violence takes a few minutes of your time. There are things you can do to make a difference. Pick up the phone and call your local representative today. Pick up the phone and call your senators today. Tell them all that you want a sensible and immediate response to gun violence (the most obvious is background checks). Did you know even people that are on our “Don’t Fly” list in the United States can easily buy guns online and from gun shows? It is true and it is outrageous.

The other thing you can do is register to vote, and actually do it. Get out there and vote for someone who promises to address this issue. This is a time in your life that you can actually do something.

I have learned in this life that I am not powerless. I have money to spend (did you know every dollar you spend is a vote for something? If you buy it, that tells corporations, that you are okay with the place it is made, the way the workers are treated, the resources that were used to create it, etc. Money is a powerful vote). I also have a telephone and e-mail and write and call my elected officials regularly. (Does this make a difference? Yes, it does). I have a vote in every election and I get to the polls and I cast it.

There are other ways that I am powerful too. If I say that I care about climate change, then it is up to me to change my life – eat less meat, use public transportation, buy local, recycle, etc.

Our daily choices make so much more difference than we can ever imagine. Our daily choices impact corporations, politicians, the environment, and in this case, our action can be the voice of all those innocent lives. Those people who died deserve our voice and deserve our time.

How often in our lives do we get to say, “I did something that actually saved people’s lives?”

Here is a link to find the numbers for your senators and here is the link to find the number for your representatives. A few phone calls, a few e-mails – change is ours to help create.  No more status quo – today is one of those days.