You Are The Heroes

My family has a thing for superhero movies. Avengers, Star Wars, Wonder Woman. My favorite is still the first Guardians of the Galaxy; I have a Groot sticker on my laptop. Allegedly the reason we see so many superhero movies is because of the two teenagers in my household, but I can wax poetic about the symbolism and meaning of the challenges, relationships and plot twists of Black Panther all on my own.

Part of what I like about superheroes is how, even for all their superhero powers, they aren’t perfect. They have flaws, make mistakes, and are sometimes their own worst enemy. And, as recent movies like Avengers, Guardians and Justice League have shown, they need each other. When individuals who are as bruised as they are powerful come together, they are able to save the world.

My friends, you are the heroes. As we face the loss of community members to suicide, you are the heroes.

As our neighbors, classmates and friends have struggled with anxiety and depression, you have been the heroes. You have reached out through social media and in real life, you have spoken honestly about your own struggles, you have signed up for training like Question, Persuade, Refer. You have asked difficult questions about our school systems, our community and our culture. You are the heroes.

Each time a life has ended too soon, you have been a hero. Each time you text someone to ask, “Are you ok?”, each time you let tears flow, each time you go to the funeral, each time you get yourself together enough to go back to work, or school, or exercise, or go out with friends, you have been a hero.

Okay, so we’re not superheroes. We can’t fly or outrun a speeding train, we don’t have a spaceship or a Hulk, no one is inventing weapons for us out of Adamantium. We don’t have superpowers.

Or do we? Have you ever felt truly seen and heard? Has someone reached out to you exactly when you needed it? Has someone – even a stranger – smiled at you and lifted your spirits? Maybe we have more superpowers than we realize.

We can’t fix every pain, every illness. We can’t stop every suicide or save every life. But like the superheroes of the movies, if we band together, join forces for good, and combine the powers we do have, maybe we can get closer to a happy ending.

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