(This blog is from the Summer of 2016.)
Four weeks down and four more weeks to go… What have I learned and what have I yet to learn?
It’s amazing that the eight Moxies in the program are interning at different places that reflect diverse approaches to social justice. We not only get to learn from each other but we get to foster a spirit of activism within our group. But, last week was one of those weeks where everything is hurling at you all at once and you don’t exactly know what to put where.
Social activism was not something I was very good at. I loved learning about issues that we face and ways to solve these issues, but that was as far as I went for the most part. So after spending a month with a group of strong minded, intelligent and dedicated women, I could not help but get inspired to do what I can to be socially active in the issues that I want to solve. At first it felt easy enough, one step at a time. We discussed about feminism and what it meant to us and how we are feminists. It wasn’t a hard question, rather a pleasant reminder of why we’re all here. Then we talked about nonprofits and their works, slightly critiquing some of their agendas and approaches of social justice. It was a new way of thinking: to question the norms that have been established. But we knew these surface conversations were not why we were here.
We were here to talk about women’s loss of possession to their own bodies and what they chose to do with it. We were here to talk about the millions of black bodies who have been beaten, brutalized and are imprisoned for the possession of 1/8th of a gram of marihuana. We were here to ask why our society feels comfortable with a system that prioritizes punishing those who are already oppressed in order to “Make America Great Again” and question why the resistance of oppression is deemed a crime. We were here to understand why those seeking justice in their communities are ignored. We were here to realize how women are perceived in our own society and be baffled at how deeply rooted these perceptions are: so much so that they are the reasons why women suffer at the hands of their own family members, spouses, communities and strangers.
And at first, it feels like we are here to fix the world: to change it. But then we start to realize how incredibly difficult it is to change the world. It’s a disheartening point when you realize that dedication to social activism is a road that is slow. It needs patience, dedication, hope, positivity and absolute persistence for the cause we are all here to fix. And instead of changing the world, we should change ourselves, because those who see our change and respond to it are the ones who will influence others, and so on. It is so important to keep in mind the balance of changing individuals and changing communities.
At times, I wish I was unaware. I wish I didn’t analyze things to the core and find flaws that reflect the problems that I see everyday, because I have never sought the so called bliss of ignorance until this week. But then you meet people dedicated to the very same cause of social justice, who are brilliant and beautiful and patient. You meet people who will listen to you rant for hours and reassure your sanity and it feels like when the music in your headphones syncs up to the rhythm of your steps as you walk. So as burdensome as activism may feel, the small steps we are taking today are here to be strides others will take in the future.