I was once part of the norm. Part of the people that just go with how the wind blows. I don’t really care about the current affairs in my community.
All I care about is myself.
In the past, when I was still in my university days, there was a time that we were assigned to gather information about the slums in Detroit. While doing my study, I began noticing how wretched other people are. I realized that I am part of a messed up society. I realized how other people are treated unequally. Because of that incident, I became fully aware of my capabilities in helping these people. I realized that I can be the voice of the people unheard. I can be part of the people that seek justice for the maltreated.
Ever since being aware of the society that I live in, I began changing — changing for the better. I signed up for petitions; I joined protests; I began advocating. I made sure that what I’m doing will send a spark to the unaware and ignite their feelings to join the fight.
Lately, I joined a protest in seeking justice for the maltreated people in the Black community. Just thinking about the hate and mistreatment that they receive from other people, especially the ‘white racists’ puts a tear in my eye. I can no longer tolerate the racism that surrounds me. I convinced people to join the protest, especially the youth. I want the youngsters to be aware of their surroundings and their behaviour. Despite the weather, I gave out brochures on the streets, be it a scorching hot day that can burn my skin off; freezingly cold nights that sends a chill down my spine; or stormy days that can wash me off of my feet. I never gave it a thought. I can bear everything as long as I can share my advocacy.
One sunny morning, I received a message in my email which must be from someone who received a brochure that I gave out. I checked it out and as I read the message, I felt butterflies in my stomach as I squealed with delight.
Good day, Ms. Jordans!
I am a university student and I read your advocacy about seeking justice for the rights and freedom of the Black community. I also agree with your opinions and beliefs regarding the said matter. I plan to join you next week in the upcoming protest in front of the White House and I assure you that I’ll be there to support. I will also try to share this with my friends and convince them to join the fight. This is not just about the Black community but also for every race out there that still suffers from racism.
Kindly update me on more information about the movement. Thank you and God Bless!
That one short message made me feel strong. It gave me a sign. A sign that I clearly conveyed the message that I want to share. It reached their hearts and gave them the courage to stand up and speak out. It gave me the strength to continue what I started.
Being all motivated, I went out again, full of energy, and ready to face another day advocating my stand. I traveled miles and miles just to reach the suburbs, villages, and countrysides to gain more support from the people out there.
Days passed and the time has come. It is already the concerted day of the protest. As I set myself up, I felt my stomach hurl.
What if no one came?
What if no one cared?
What should I do?
I fell into my knees as my feet can no longer support my weight. I felt the weight of all the lives that I carry. The weight of all the people that clings to the thread of hope that I myself don’t know if I can still continue to hold on.
I just sat at the corner of my bed, not sure if I can lead the protest.
Five whole minutes.
I just sat there in silence for five whole minutes while staring into the void, lost in my thoughts. A high-pitched sound then broke that very silence and brought me back to reality. That sound was the notification tone of my computer.
I walked towards my computer and saw the pink pinned note on the upper right of the screen.
Protest in front of the White House to seek justice against racism.
While reading the reminder, I remembered the message that was sent to me by the university student.
I plan to join you next week in the upcoming protest in front of the White House and I assure you that I’ll be there to support.
I realized how similar we are to each other. We were both so young when we discovered the filth in this world and we chose to be the ones who will speak up for it. I remember having felt the courage and joy while reading his message, realizing that I am not alone — I already inspired others to join me. This is not the time to falter. This is the time to move forward and mark my statement.
Chinned-up with chest out and clear eyes, I set out, ready to lead the protest.
You can see it on me: Confident, Proud, Determined.
When I arrived at the rendezvous, my eyes widened and my mouth was left hanging open. I didn’t expect many people to come. Different faces; different races; different ages; different religions; but same reason. We’re gathered here in this place for ONE. SAME. REASON. I didn’t know that I’ve inspired this many people to join.
This protest may not shake the grounds of those above, but it certainly offers a helping hand to those below and opens the eyes of the people that are blind to reality. This protest will serve as an assurance to the people in need. This tells them that they are not alone. They will be found. They will find comrades for their justice-seeking battles.
I am glad that I got to break out of the norm and fight injustice and inequality. I’m glad that I got to change for the betterment of the majority in our society. I’m glad that I instigated the urge of others to change. I’m glad for sending signals and sparks that ignited others to advance and make their stand.
I’m glad I changed.