Fighting for the Future

I'm a second year English Major, with a double minor in Legal Studies and Sociology. I want my life to mean something, I want to stand up for the little guy, I want to make a difference. I never expected that I'd live through a time like this. There's a global pandemic the likes of which I'd never heard of before, and ongoing protests and rallies to stop injustice that is happening all over my country, and I'll be the first to say, I'm afraid. I'm afraid for my family, for my elderly neighbors, for my best friends, for my future. But what is all of that worth, if the base is broken, if the foundation is cracked? You see, I'm so afraid, but now I'm more afraid for our society. I'm afraid that the country I love so much, the society that I've been taught so much about, doesn't have the best interest of everyone at its heart. Because I look around, and I see sadness and pain in the eyes of my darker skinned brothers and sisters. I see the reflections of the brutality and injustice that they experience everyday in their eyes. I see a nation that will not rest until there are changes, until there is justice, until there is true equality. I also look around and see outrage and misseducation, despair and self-loathing, anger and corruption. I scrolled through social media and saw a young man shot down in the street, I turned on the news and saw a man gasping for air as he died, I opened a newspaper and saw a beautiful young woman who was killed in her apartment. No one person was the turning point, but there's no more room, not for one more death. When I go out, I look at my skin and know I don't have to be afraid for the same reasons that others do. I can put on a mask and walk into a convenience store and no one is going to call the cops. I can pull over in a white neighborhood and no one thinks I don't belong. I can fall asleep without wondering if I'm going to wake up or not. When I went out I covered my face, I covered my hair, I wore long sleeves. When I went out I packed a first aid kit and bottles of water to give out. When I went out I packed granola bars and bandages. When I went out I packed my camera and notepad so that I could share people's stories. I know that my voice matters, but not as much as my presence. My words only mean as much as the actions that back them up. My social media posts only mean as much as the petitions that are linked below them. My photos and snapshots of life in a single moment only mean as much as the stories of those within them. So when I go out, I listen, I ask, I offer my help, I cry with the mothers crying in the street for their babies, I chant with the crowd that longs for justice. I look out over a sea of weeping eyes, mouths and noses obscured by masks and bandanas, fists of all shades raised in the air, and the only thing that I'm not afraid for is change. I am so ready for change. My future is the one that I want to write about, the one that I'm fighting for; Our future is the one that we make ourselves.

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