Posted in Inspiration

The Art of Social Change

I’ve been having a weird “Peter Pan” outlook lately.

The concept of growing up scares the skin off of me, and not for the reasons you’d think. The story of Peter Pan embarks on the desire to have no responsibilities and remain dependent on one’s surroundings forever. For that reason, Peter gives up on the Lost Boys and even Wendy because they have to go back to England, which represents reality, rather than stay in Neverland with Peter, representing a world without worry.

It’s accurate to say that neither one of those outcomes is expected anytime soon.

I don’t fear responsibility and leadership, in fact, I crave it; however, I am concerned to face society as an adult because I fear there will be no liberty nor unity nor stability left for me to experience.

I am concerned for the mess that the current president is leaving for incoming generations to clean up, which we are more than capable of doing, despite the unjustness of it.

Indeed, I am also fearful of the silence that we may be required to practice – this is the “liberty” aspect that I was speaking of earlier- it is a chilling notion to witness your country become prone to the dictatorship and oppression that now plagues the white house.

Regardless of my fears, I write to promote creativity and art during these testing times. So why don’t I provide some incentive? I have watched beautiful African dances on the roads, beautiful graffiti that now imbues on the walls of streets, articles and films that depict a poetry and truth to the movement that runs throughout the country and will continue to run throughout the decade.

Look at all of the incredible stories we have created: global contribution to counter an injustice, social encouragement for diversity, cultural education, and so much more. These stories emerged not from the uproar in the streets that we watch in the news, but from the culture in diverse communities that we must fight to preserve.

The books may deem this year a chaotic and disorderly time, and yes, it was and still is. However, what emerged from the violence will be an improved and just world where the citizens we promised in our constitution to protect feel protected. The fight will never be over until we see the change that should have been made three hundred years ago.

And how do we implement it?

Not with guns, nor tweets, nor instagram, but with a pen, some paper, and a voice.

Posted in History Nerds Only, Inspiration, Thoughts

A Societal Logic

There are two sides to every war. Each believe that they are building a better world and creating an improved future. It’s funny, each side refuses to alter their perspective and attempt to understand the behavior behind their opponent’s decisions – isn’t this what married couples do every day?

I’ve never experienced the technical “total war” phenomenon that generations in the Civil War and Red Scare lived through, but it certainly does feel like all of our surveillance and resources are violently circling Trump vs. the People war.

We started a movement. Many thought it would “blow over” within a week and yet we are still roaming the streets in every U.S state including 49 other countries, fighting for our neighbors. They undermine the power the People have, they undermine the rigor, the ability, and worst of all, they undermine our young. I cannot tell you how much I stress this idea: our GenZer’s will not just better the future, but reform society.

The Oppression will never blow over, the Oppressors will pay for their crimes, and the Oppressed will show us our true strength.

However, I don’t want to talk too much about the conflict, but rather the factors enabling its escalation.

The silent.

It is not my intention to sound radical, but throughout history, it was the silence and failure to act that kept us from our potential. The age group consisting of eighteen to twenty-six year olds in the US didn’t place their vote in the 2016 election, resulting in a child’s inauguration for president. Additionally, the original constitution included nothing about slaves and their place in society because of the founding father’s failure to incorporate any means of resolution.

As a whole, silence can be far more consequential than the opposing side’s actions sometimes, and it’s not difficult to understand why. How would you feel if people around you had means and capabilities to stop something horrible from happening to you and chose not to? Truly, it’s no different than high school bullying. The bystanders are just as responsible as the bullies because they watched and allowed. This phenomenon is not new in American History; look at the first two world wars. I say first two because if we keep at the rate we’re going, we’ll be lucky if our future generations know the word “peace” in their vocabulary.

I came about this concept while reading Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale in a chapter describing a billeted Nazi in the protagonist’s house. Throughout the novel, the author creates a progressing conscience in Nazi Captain Beck as the war exacerbates. The readers finally understand that Beck was against the actions of Germany but was required to follow orders and conform with his country. During a climactic chapter of the book, Captain Beck was killed by our protagonist, Vianne, because of the consequences threatened to him and his family to find a fallen pilot hidden by Vianne’s sister in the house they both resided in. What we see here is not just the bystander concept but also the societal logic that traveled throughout the narrative. The way I interpreted this chapter is that if one practices silence, the blood is on their hands as well.

My goal is not to place blame nor allow guilt, but to assess the narrative logic that bleeds into humanity today. To put it in the simplest terms: if you are not with us, you are against us. If you do nothing to fix it, you are making it easier for the opposition to imbue chaos and danger onto this democracy. Maybe you don’t care about that, some people don’t, so why don’t I give you a little more incentive:

Writers, directors, artists, photographers, or any creative leader establishes this phenomenon in which the silent are always punished because of their failure to speak up against injustice. Always.

With that, I will ask you this: Do you really think that everything is eventually going to be okay? Do you truly believe that after a few months, everything is going to go back to normal? What happens then, we just wait for another man to die? Another woman? Another inept, thoughtless goon for president? One day, you will become more than just a “watcher” if we allow the system to go unchanged.

Be a force of nature, stand up for not just yourself, but for your neighbors, your family, you children, and their children.

Your instagram aesthetic can wait; it doesn’t make you “uncool” to publicly stand with justice.

Thanks for reading.

Posted in Inspiration

He Couldn’t Breathe, and it’s Our Fault

I am sorry.

I’m sorry because I have contributed to this decades long silence that led to hundreds of deaths in the black community. I believed and supported a cause that I wasn’t doing enough for and because of that blindness, we are now at militant war with our so-called “leadership.”

Over the past couple of years, we have been in what I call, a Cold Civil war: where non-combat fighting and propaganda measures occupy the States and are used against our own brothers and sisters. Like Nazi Germany, the tyrannical side of this war has been oppressing and tormenting the other because of a certain skin color they possess. Even if you haven’t participated in this act of evil, you are almost as bad as the oppressors themselves because of your bystander tendencies. We have all been watching a war and blew it off because our privilege filtered out everything that didn’t have to do with travel plans, new clothes, or boy problems.

I’m ashamed to admit that a viral video of a man being asphyxiated is what it took for me to use my privilege for protecting natural rights when I should have begun from my very first US History class.

We built the nation on a foundation of democracy to protect ourselves from the very tyrant that currently sits on a throne of blood. Blood from the many protestors who sought only their god given rights for themselves, their families, and their children. Blood from young black men and women who’d done no wrong and were victims of a poorly managed justice system. Blood even from the law officers being beaten by opportunists during the protests.

Pity on those of us who were witnesses to these unspeakable horrors and stood by while an evil crept into the country. If the country woke up sooner, maybe the lives now lost would be fighting with us today.

Nevertheless, I have learned not to dwell on the past which is why I am proud to be a part of a generation that recognizes this dilemma and fights for a new future, even if it means defying their families’ beliefs as well. Like all teenagers in the past, we are learning from the mistakes of our leaders, government officials, adults, and even our parents; the only difference is the extremity of the experience. In other words, Generation Z has the power to find a better way. As we slowly watch our nation walk down the steps of power, our country’s teenagers continue to hold it together with their voices. The truth is, the chaos running amuck right now is not only to demand justice, but to teach us young adults. It’s our nation’s Founding Fathers asking us to be the beacon of hope for the future.

That said, I would never endorse violence, but can you imagine being oppressed for hundreds of years to the point where you are afraid of going for a jog in public? Don’t say you understand because you don’t and never will. We are living in desperate times where we need true leadership to mend the justice system and protect the rights of our black community.

I don’t want to see another name on an instagram story. I don’t want to see any more statistics. The fact of the matter is: if you can do it, vote. Vote the tyrant out.

We are living through a long and hefty chapter of a history book. Now let me ask you something: when our future students finish the chapter on 2020, do you want them to be proud of where they reside, or ashamed of their nation’s past?

Put an end to this war.