As election results roll in state by state, I reflect on my own activism in the past presidential term. It all started in my freshman year with a simple hunger for justice when I looked at issues like gun control. Progressing, I started to research climate change, racial justice, women’s rights, and so many more. The list goes on and on.
In the past few years, I have grown as an activist and in turn grown as a person. Activism has given me a way to instill more humanity in myself and I have learned to care about people more sincerely. In the past few months, sitting at home, I have reflected on how far I have come in my advocacy, but how much farther society has on its way to justice.
I know there is such a need in this world at this moment for change, and in a way, I hope this blog post motivates both myself and others to take more action.
In short, I started high school, blatantly ignorant of the issues outside my bubble. I bathed in privilege night after night and never spent a moment thinking about racial constructs or the quickly dying environment. I was not an anti-racist nor a spirited climate enthusiast, and I simply had no clue about what was going on in other people’s lives. I am certainly not proud of who I was back then, but today I am glad to say that there is never a day that passes where I have not read a news headline or thought about the issues that affect others.
I know now that politics is not just about politics. Politics affects real people’s lives and plays a big hand in the basic human rights that people are “entitled” to. On the issues that come up today, I always try to do my own research and have a brain of my own. I attend protests, I read books, I donate, and I speak up, but the truth still stands that I have lots of room to grow.
The truth is that politics and people’s livelihoods are never not on the line. Going forward, I want to be an activist in the terms of other people’s hardships. I want to read articles and feel every emotion instead of reading it as a textbook page. I want to donate to organizations after reading their true principles and testimonies. I want to attend protests and absorb the momentum and the fervor of those around me.
Simply put, I want to immerse myself in the humanity of the political opinions I support. I ardently support the Black Lives Matter movement, so I plan on listening intently to black people and their true experiences, from police brutality to environmental injustice, to become solidly anti-racist. I will go to the ends of the earth to save the koalas, so I will learn the stories of those suffering from the acts of anthropogenic climate change.
Yes, activism has given me a way to instill more humanity in myself, but in my coming activism, I want to truly listen to the humanity of the movements I support. Many times, when we hear about issues over and over again, we become desensitized. My personal goal is to see every story as individual and deserving of empathy and I hope this will allow me to become a more compassionate advocate. From ignorance to the struggles of the black community to the broken education system, I pledge myself to fight these matters with real people and livelihoods in mind.