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We All Have a Role to Play

I was honored to be featured as the first FAME member of the month but hesitant at the same time. My initial thought was why? I am not an elected official in the community, you won’t see me in the paper or on TV, and I don’t have a huge social media following. It was during this questioning that I came to the conclusion that an individual like me makes sense as the first FAME member to be recognized this way. It is because I am no different than anyone else but I still have the ability to question these systems that create the cycles of violence and oppression. It is men like me that must speak up and support these movements that have been primarily women-led. Men (I) cannot keep silent and assume that someone else will take care of it. The events in the last few years have made this clearer to me than ever, from the Brock Turner case to the election of politicians who use phrases like “locker room talk” and trivialize victims of assault by attacking their looks or their history.

It is because men like myself have not listened hard enough to those fighting for change or always thought it was someone else’s problem that we’ve gotten to where we are now. It was the continued election of individuals who refused to engage in conversations or continually let perpetrators of violence receive weakened sentences or punishment. It’s been every time that someone asked “what about his future” and I didn’t challenge it. I know that I have a tremendous amount to still learn and how to be a better advocate, but that doesn’t mean I can’t start now. These systems need to be challenged and removed. Victims must be believed and supported. We must keep educating those around us and helping them to see how they must be this change too. While it will be uncomfortable to have these conversations, it is my duty to have them. I will leave you with this story and challenge you to be better and keep fighting for change and equality:

“This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.”

– Charles Osgood


Albert Thiel is the Director of Student Center Operations & Student Involvement at the University of Pittsburgh - Greensburg. He is also a Board Member of the Westmoreland Diversity Coalition, and a member of Fearless Advocacy for Men's Engagement.

Please note that the views expressed by guest bloggers represent their own personal views, and not necessarily those of Blackburn Center.

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