Listen Now More than Ever

JULIA SERRA | OPINION EDITOR

With the Trump presidency nearly secured, the pressure for Millennials to take action has multiplied. We are finding ourselves thrown into waves of protests, petitions and marches. The threat of injustice calls us to take immediate action: to become the revolution. Suddenly Desmond Tutu’s line “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” bears a new sense of urgency, thus leading to an overwhelming amount of action to be taken. At some moments there’s an exhilaration to all of this, and in these moments we can be most productive. But I would be lying if I said I don’t spend a majority of my time in a stress-induced paralysis. It is a lot for even the most motivated to handle.

I think we all feel the disruption in this moment in American history and we all feel the need to fix it, but remember that emotion alone will not unify America in the way it needs to be unified. You are entitled to your anger; you are entitled to your sadness; you are entitled to your fear. Let emotions motivate you to keep working for what you believe in, but don’t let them be the backbone of your actions towards justice.

I want to remind you to take a breath before you take your mission to the streets. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your own ability as an activist, listening is the only place to start. Action is necessary, but part of this action is taking time to educate yourself. So listen now more than ever. Ripen your social justice vocabulary.  Address the urgency of the situation, but know that there is value in educating yourself. Take time to read within and outside of your echo chamber. Listen to the voices of the communities most affected by the threats of a Trump presidency. Listen to the voices you are in opposition to. Doing so will challenge your own beliefs, give a deeper sense of meaning to your cause and enrich the persuasive dialogue you engage in. When emotions are running thick, engaging in productive dialogue can be hard. But when you’re well educated on both sides of the issues, listening becomes much easier.

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