Friday, February 23, 2018

Five On Friday: Are You an Activist, Too?

So many ideas for a Five on Friday post this week, but nothing felt right.

The shooting last week was bad enough but the reactions this week--mocking teen activists, claiming they are crisis actors (if that were really a thing, how would I apply?), suggesting more guns are the solution--made all of my ideas for a list seem pointless.

I kept finding inspiration in the teenagers that are speaking out. Maybe I could do a post of the top five quotes, tweets or video clips? Perhaps a playlist of five kick-ass songs to encourage and support them? What about my opinion on guns as a human, as a feminist, as the survivor of a violent crime and/or as the mother of children of color in public school?

No, no, no. Nothing was right or complete.

I took a walk in the rain yesterday morning, considering all this when I got a text from my teenager. She and I had talked about the pros and cons of a student walk-out protest, what some alternatives could be and what organizations or individuals at school might want to team up on this project. Her text message let me know that a fellow student had already scheduled a meeting with the High School Principal and she and some other friends were going to work with them.

I wasn't surprised to hear which young woman initiated the meeting--her mother and I have worked on a few social justice initiatives together. I texted Mom saying, "Mom activists=kid activists!"

She admitted that she's still getting used to referring to herself as one. This is a person who, among other things, has recently worked to pass an Anti-Hate Resolutions in her town and is helping bring it to my neighboring township. But I get it, I struggled with calling myself as an Activist for a long time, too.

I think most of my friends would feel the same but when I look at the various ways they let their voices be heard, I consider them all to be Activists right along with me.

Are you an Activist too? Maybe you can't organize a March or speak in front of hundreds of people, but I'm willing to argue that if you have done any of these things, you're right here with us:

1. Marched. Donated time or money to a cause your believe in. Joined a community of like-minded individuals. Signed a petition. Volunteered.

2. Watched a movie that taught you something about a marginalized community. Bonus points if you discussed it with someone afterwards.

3. Ever gone out of your way to be nice to stand up for someone else. Smiled or been extra friendly to someone that you suspect other people aren't always nice to.

4. Had a discussion with someone who disagreed with you politically, even if you walked away from it feeling frustrated.
5. Talked to any children in your life about biases, why people might exhibit them, what we can do about them. Involved them in rally or supported them in protest.

So have you?

Welcome to the Resistance.

My daughter's poster from the Woman's March '17 on display in an art exhibit

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