Activism. It is that complex word that exists within the mouths of many folks of today. It manifests itself in the present day conversations of resistance as well as the wave of unified resistance that has existed amongst the tyranny of the Trump administration.
I write this op-ed in solidarity with the suffering people around the world, and from a declaration of a frustrated college student. The humanity of many men, women and nonbinary individuals are under attack on a regular basis. As I write this, migrant children are being shot by rubber bullets and brutalized by militarized police. The conflicts on the border today represents a national scale of frustration with the status quo, and fighting the imperialism of our nation. In the Midwest, families in Flint, Michigan still go weeks without clean drinking water. Women in Ohio may have their livelihood stripped away with them just by simply having an abortion, all the while Trump seeks to reduce the little rights existing that protect trans and nonbinary individuals. Combining this with ecological disaster, the future for our generation looks grim.
I frame this narrative in nothing but truth; everything I said is wholly true in its totality. This large scale struggle within America is not new. As long as colonialism reigns, there has been a constant struggle of values vs. belief, logic vs. reason, free speech vs. censorship and suppression.
It is our duty as young adults within an institution of higher learning to challenge ourselves, both in and out of the classroom. We must be willing to engage with conversations that lead to action that raises awareness, shifts consciousness and changes policy. This is a moral duty that exists within each and every one of us, and it does not start or end with education or conversations. There comes a time when having the right opinions and saying “I support this” means nothing next to taking action. There must always be members of the community reminding us of this; the utmost importance of understanding who you are and where you are. In college, it is easy to get sucked into a bubble. When performing the day to day requirements of us we sometimes forget the large scale connections our suffering has with modern society.
I move then to reinforcing the urgency of organizing and activism. So far, of all the things aforementioned in this paper, there has been absolutely no widespread involvement on campus to address the problems occuring in this nation. That is not to say that the organizations on campus are not involved or engaged; quite the opposite. However, I do see a missing mobilizing effort in values of moral importance such as these that is instead given in effort to protest the yearly bigoted Bible thumpers on campus. When the dust settles so do the mobilized bodies. No longer are the streets and walkways crowded with the bodies of young minds irate over Kavanaugh, or frustrated with the latest Black body that fell at the hands of police violence. Instead, these issues are relegated only to discussion and education, but not public tension or open communication. This is not to say that every issue requires a protest, but there does need to be more visibility in the mainstream issues of today that are granted the same action behaviour that is seen within the students who see frustration with the bigotry of religious intolerance. This is important because our lives are connected in mutuality of society. Everything that occurs outside the walls of this campus somehow makes its way into the minds of the students of today, and vice versa.
In this conclusion, I argue that we must create a culture that encourages discourse and encourages civic engagement. There is more to social and civic engagement than conversations and education, there must be people on the ground having and pushing conversations.