I hate getting political here, because I don’t want to turn anyone away. I resist the current hatred, fear and bigotry by reminding everyone how I love them. It doesn’t matter who you love, what “parts” you have, where you came from, what you believe or what you look like. If you treat me and mine with respect, you can expect to receive the same. My inbox is always open to anyone that needs to talk. No judgement, no complications…. in the age of the internet there doesn’t even have to be names. This is how I resist the current unrest. I am one person, but sometimes all it takes is one calm harbor in the stormy sea of life.
These days you see more and more activists- rallies for and against everything. You see marches on TV. These people are brave, and giving a good voice to current issues. But that isn’t me. I would never be comfortable being out doing this. I especially wouldn’t want part in the ones that, while the cause and the people aren’t bad, still result in violence. There are other ways. Calling congressmen, joining groups, staying abreast of the news is the very least we should be trying to be doing. An uninformed mass is a dangerous thing. And it’s hard anymore. There are so many completely biased “news” arenas anymore that you don’t know if you have the whole story- or even a real story. It’s enough to make my head spin and I am 35.
So how is a teen supposed to navigate these waters? They are smart and caring and still young enough to be inquisitive. They see the current unrest. Their friends shot in school shootings, or the people they care about having to fight tooth and nail for the rights that they take for granted- the right to live as they wish, love who they wish, and freaking pee in a public restroom. My niece sees a pretty girl her age, intelligent and kind, being bullied and hated because of a piece of fabric on her head. These things don’t make sense! It’s enough to make a young person, already struggling with the changes in herself, become furious. You want to make a difference. You want to change the world. How do you go about it?
Today a book released called How I resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation by Tim Federle. What this is, is a group of essays, interviews and other miscellanea edited by Federle and Maureen Johnson. Now, I just started it; but so far it contains intelligent, well thought articles about either what others have done in the past, what can be done in the future, and what the phrase “resist” even means to them. It has given me a sense of calm and purpose already, and if it continues in this vein I really feel like this book could be a game changer.
Another thing that always helped me is reading up on subjects that are becoming issues- not just news articles. When the unrest about immigration really started ramping up I read a book called The Newcomer where I saw just one class room of immigrants discuss what their lives were like, what they hope for and what they fear, all while learning a new language and culture. It helped me, seeing what they were up against and the small amount of help they got here, along with learning about the hoops they had to jump through. These are two books I would recommend to anyone.
There are a million ways to resist, and there not just one right way. Be informed, be inclusive, vote, care. Thank you.