About Kella, the Creator of Yopp

Kella Hanna-Wayne is a disabled, bisexual, chronically & mentally ill, freelance writer as well as being the editor, publisher, and main writer for Yopp.

 

Since launching the blog single-handedly in March of 2017, she has written extensively about her experiences with conditions like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, PTSD, chronic pain, and Celiac Disease but her true strength is writing educational pieces on the overarching principles of social justice that enable clarity, understanding, and validation of the marginalized.

In addition to her rarely updated gluten-free blog GlutenFreeNom.Com, she is a member of The BeZine's core team of writers, her work has been published in Ms. Magazine blog, Betty's Battleground, Architrave Press and her writing is forthcoming in a chapter of the book Twice Exceptional (2e) Beyond Learning Disabilities: Gifted Persons with Physical Disabilities. For fun, Kella organizes and DJ’s an argentine tango dancing event, bakes gluten-free masterpieces, sings loudly along with pop music, and makes cat noises.

 

Contact at KHannaWayne@gmail.com to hire for freelance writing.

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The Origin of Yopp

They call us Social Justice Warriors, but I prefer the term Social Justice Mage, or Social Justice Rogue if I'm feeling sassy.

 

As an advocate of social justice and a daily Facebook debate participant, I had been throwing around the idea of starting a blog for a while. I was frustrated with the lack of quality articles on feminism and social justice in general. There seemed to be only a handful of truly excellent articles that covered the full depth of the topic  and the rest only covered the most basic of feminism 101, was defensive of its own existence, or consisted of a powerful anecdote, a couple statistics, followed by what should have

been their thesis statement written at the end of the woefully short article.


My writing received consistent praise from friends and fellow activists alike, particularly for its clear summaries of complicated topics and its patient and empathetic tone. So a blog seemed like the right platform to further my goals of decreasing oppression and increasing the quality of online social justice literature.

 

But what would I call it? 

 

One night when I was idly discussing my plans for creating a blog with my boyfriend, Noah, our conversation slowed to a halt and I happened to say, “yep,” only it came out, “yop.”

 

Liking the sound of the word, I said, “yop,” again, and then I paused. Out loud, I said, “Isn’t that what the Who said to Horton?” Noah nodded and without missing a beat, he quoted the famous Dr. Seuss story:

 

“We’ve GOT to make noises in greater amounts!

So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!”

Thus he spoke as he climbed. When they got to the top,

the lad cleared his throat and he shouted out, “Yopp!”


And then time stood still for second. It had been years since I had read Horton Hears a Who!, and I had forgotten most of the details but this powerful quotation struck me. Climbing to the top of a mountain and yelling with your small insignificant voice as loud as you can, was a very good description of what it feels like to be a woman--or a person with any marginalization-- writing on the internet.

 

I write a lot. I debate strangers on the internet a lot. I’ve been in conversations where I repeat the same point three times before the person I’m debating notices what I’ve said. I’ve been called aggressive and mean when my language is neutral, straight forward and I’ve used zero personal attacks. I’ve had men explain to me what my feelings should be about sexual assault, about street harassment, and about access to birth control, topics that affect me much more severely than they them. I know when people are influenced by my gender or my disability or my sexuality in their conversation with me, and I know that if I pointed out what they were doing, they would deny their behavior having anything to do with my marginalization. Often it feels that for every one person who believes me that these issues are important and affect the safety and well-being of millions of people, there are a 1000 people who don’t believe me and dismiss everything I say.

Re-reading "Horton Hears a Who!"

 

Inspired, I searched for the text of Horton Hears a Who! online and was blown away by what I found. Here’s a recap of what happens:

 

Horton is minding his own business when he hears a cry for help. He realizes that the cry is coming from a speck of dust and that there is a person too small to see on the dust speck, who is scared of drowning in the nearby pool.

 

Horton places the speck on a clover but nearby Kangaroos look on and scoff at him. They can't believe Horton’s claim that there could be a person on the speck of dust, despite Horton's insistence that he did hear them. Horton feels a responsibility to protect these tiny people, reasoning to himself, “I am bigger than they.”

 

Soon, Horton discovers there isn’t just a person, there’s an entire city of people called Whos on the dust speck. The mayor of Who-ville thanks him profusely for saving their city and Horton promises to keep them safe.

 

Just then, Monkeys swoop in and steal the clover, insisting angrily that Whos do not exist and there are no people on the speck. They enlist the Eagle and ask him to make sure to dispose of the clover that has no people on it. Horton chases after the Eagle, begging him to not harm the Whos, “who have as much right to live as us bigger folk do.” The Eagle refuses and threatens to hide the clover that has no people on it.

 

The Eagle drops the clover into a field, and Horton doggedly searches through thousands of clovers, treating each one as if it holds hundreds of his friends. He finally finds them and discovers that the fall from the Eagle’s flight damaged Who-ville severely. He promises to stick by them while they try to rebuild.

 

But the Kangaroos reappear and tell Horton they are tired of watching him talk to people who do not exist. They gather their friends and relatives in an effort to rope and cage Horton, to punish him for talking to people who don’t exist, and threaten to drop the clover with no people on it into boiling oil!

 

Desperately, Horton warns the Mayor of Who-ville of the danger and tells him that he must get everyone in his city to yell and scream as loud as they can so that they can convince everyone that the Whos are real people.

 

Scared and desperate, the entire city of Who-ville shout together, “We are here, we are here, we are here!”

 

Horton asks the Kangaroos if they heard the cries, and the Kangaroos insist that they heard nothing. They say that Horton didn’t hear anything either.

 

The Kangaroos and their gang attack Horton. They tie him up with a rope, they beat him, and they drag him into a cage. Horton yells to the Whos, “Don’t give up! I believe in you all. A person’s a person no matter how small. And you very small persons will not have to die if you make yourself heard! So come on and try!”

 

The Whos make as much noise as they can, yelling and banging on pots, but the Kangaroos still don’t hear them. Horton tells the mayor to make sure that every last Who is lending his voice. The mayor searches the town for one last person to help them be heard.

 

He finds the one and only Who not making noise, drags him to the highest point in Who-ville and tells him it is time to serve his country.

 

“We’ve GOT to make noises in greater amounts!

So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!”

Thus he spoke as he climbed. When they got to the top,

the lad cleared his throat and he shouted out, “Yopp!”

 

And that Yopp… That one small extra Yopp put it over!

Finally, at last! From that speck on that clover

their voices were heard! They rang out clear and clean.

And the elephant smiled. “Do you see what I mean?...

They’ve proved they ARE persons, not matter how small.

And their whole world was saved by the Smallest of ALL!”

“How true! Yes, how true,” said the big kangaroo.

“And, from now on, you know what I’m planning to do?...

From now on, I’m going to protect them with you!”

 

As an activist and as a blogger, I’m in the business of convincing others that marginalized people are in fact people and pointing out the ways that our society dehumanizes them. I want to amplify the voices of those who are currently not being heard, and as I am a member of several marginalized groups, I need to yell and shout to help push our noise level over the threshold, to be loud enough that the world is convinced once and for all that we deserve to be treated like the humans that we are.

Kella Hanna-Wayne

Creator of Yopp!

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©2017 Kella Hanna-Wayne. 

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