We are dealing with a generation of young people who spent several months at home. They had plans cancelled, they didn’t see their friends, and some have watched their families lose everything. They fearfully watched people get sick, they listened as their elders brushed off concerns about public health, their eyes were opened to the injustices facing their peers, and many of them found their voice.
Refusing to see things as complicated forces us to ignore human emotion and experience. It forces us to look past the pain and allows us to bypass empathy in our attempt to score a win. It looks at the imperfection of human existence and boils it down to a single issue existing in a vacuum, unaffected by the many things that regularly disrupt our days.
As Americans we have watched the pendulum swing higher and higher to the left and the right with each election cycle. It has left many of us in the middle out of the conversation, asking what we need to do to get our politicians to listen to us. The answer is simple: active citizenship. Our founding fathers and mothers fought for a country with an imperfect system, but they believed that future generations would keep working to figure it out. For a long time, people did keep tinkering with the experiment in an effort to make a “more perfect union.” But then we got lazy, believing that the machine would keep working without our maintenance and care.
I am tired, but quitting isn’t an option, because the only way things will get better is if we fight for the change that will make that happen. So as difficult as it is, I will keep looking at the big picture and fight for the change that will make us better. I just don’t have it in me to stop trying.
Yes, it is uncomfortable and it is against human nature to be uncomfortable. We don’t like feeling uneasy and unsure about our past, present, and future. But the harsh truth is that we are long past overdue for an honest conversation about race and the role that the history of oppression continues to play in our present.
For us, success means that our kids are happy, healthy, and that they are doing something that they love. I want them to be world changers. I want them do see success as offering something back to those around them instead of just taking every opportunity that is offered to them, regardless of the cost.