The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Friday, March 1, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Column: To all in need of an older sister

Alison Krug

Newsroom director Alison Krug

On Nov. 9, I didn’t know what to do. My usual soul-rejuvenating activities (cross stitching, catching and releasing spiders from The Daily Tar Heel bathroom, stress cooking) didn’t seem like enough.

So I sat down on my favorite bench behind Carroll Hall for a few hours, and I wrote a letter to my younger sisters. This is for anyone who could use an older sister right now:

I want everything for you. I want you to live in a world where you are respected and valued and treated with the same open kindness and dignity with which you treat everyone you come across and I want you to have that as the standard for how you should be treated. Don’t take it for granted, but know you deserve it, and fight for it.

Know your worth and defend it. Defend the worth of those who cannot. Lifting one another up does not diminish you — we grow and change the best when we grow and change together.

You will be OK. Things, right now, are not OK. But you’ll be OK. You’ll be OK because you know it’s your responsibility right now not to be cynical and not to close yourself off and not to ever give up.

Don’t joke about moving to Canada. It was never funny, and you are more clever than that. This country needs you. North Carolina needs you. Dig deep and care for your community.

Look out for one another, OK? Keep an eye out and your arms open. Give liberally of your love and support, and don’t close yourself off from accepting it.

Don’t complain about school so much. Spending seven hours a day for five days a week doesn’t have to be the soul-crushing brain drain you tell me it is on the phone every couple days. Try to think of it as seven hours to spend ridiculous amounts of time with hundreds of classmates, some who you don’t know at all yet, some who you might never agree with and many who could really use a friend right now.

Show them you’re in their corner. Let them know with your words and actions. Hold yourself accountable for this. It’s easy not to speak up and to let others go on hurting when you’re also hurting.

But you are so smart and quick and creative. And I am so proud to be your sister.

I’m also scared. I’m scared you’ll let the rhetoric affect you and let you believe you are less than. Even more, I’m scared you’ll let it let you believe that anyone else is less than.

Plant your feet in a firm foundation of respect and decency, and let knowledge and empathy guide your footsteps. I’m in your corner. Tell those who need it you’re in their corner, too. Others are afraid for different reasons, reasons you might think don’t affect you. Listen to them.

Look up from this letter and listen to your friends and neighbors and people whose perspectives you don’t yet understand. Be kind, be loving, be strong. Be an ally, a helping hand, a listener, an activist. Be the strong, passionate young women I know you are. I love you, and I’m here for you.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.