When it comes to the glorification of activism, I very often have mixed feelings. Being vocal about sociopolitical issues has its inherent consequences.
Depending on a given person’s vocalness and visibility, activism can sometimes mean rightful paranoia about police surveillance and infiltration — tactics that have been used by the FBI to dismantle civil rights groups in the past and in present.
For students, particularly students of color, the consequences can mean being unable to focus in school. It can mean panic attacks on the RU and uncontrollable tears when you have work. It can mean sacrificing class time for more sleep deprivation to attend demonstrations, canvass, phone bank, host events and trainings. And believe me when I say this all takes a toll.
While activism is not easy nor convenient, it is necessary and fruitful. The moments you lean on your community are healing, and over time you learn the importance of balance and mental wellness. But what happens when you take something rooted in struggle, pain and love and package it into a cute little box?
You get millions of people willing to proclaim #BlackLivesMatter without ever ensuring they do. People who have never given time to grassroots organizations, donated, taken initiative to educate the people around them or even thought about how to turn hashtags into actions. You get #TheResistance without any resisting, locking arms instead kneeling. You get people who don’t truly believe we have nothing to lose but our chains. Maybe because the chains aren’t on them personally. Maybe because the chains are more invisible.