Since I was a little kid, I’ve always befriended and stood up for the underdog. I’ve become an outcast on many occasions due to defending others. I regret not one moment of helping anyone though; it’s always been a genuine expression of compassion for my fellow human. There was a brief moment of time when I withdrew from what came natural because I’d grown tired of helping people who turned out to be ingrates. Had to remind myself that helping others isn’t about ME so when unappreciative people pop up, it should be considered part of the territory. Instead of allowing that to deter me from helping, reflecting on all of the grateful people kept me wanting to give/help when I can, as much as I can.
A friend mockingly started calling me The Activist 7 years ago. Their reasoning behind the nickname was “you’re always standing up for someone else and attempting to defend people’s rights”. Every time they called me The Activist, it angered me; not because I consider activism to be something negative but because actively choosing to care about others interests as much as my own was being joked about.
This wasn’t the first time I was “made fun of” for giving a shit about other people whose voice wasn’t as loud as mine, was terrified to speak up, or just didn’t have faith that saying anything would make a difference. Any person I’ve taken the time to acquire knowledge about that assisted in liberating groups of people, all possessed this inherent trait of wanting to be of service to others, whether they knew them personally or not. So it confused me that these same people claiming to appreciate what leaders of the past have done, tell people today that they’re wasting their time to care about other people this much.
It made me understand why we don’t have VISIBLE leaders today fighting for our human rights, that we can acknowledge on a global scale. People ask why there are no Dr. King’s, Malcolm X’s, Rosa Park’s, Shirley Chisholm’s, Angela Davis’, etc. My questions are, what do we think these people are supposed to look like? Are we so intoxicated by the glamour of what people are supposed to look like that we’re missing what people actually ARE? Because there ARE people in the world who are doing more than the average person to get others involved and interested in being better humans. There ARE people who want to rally others to give a bigger fuck about our rights that our government clearly states we are allowed to have but oddly try to prevent us from having. Those people helping each other in Ferguson are a great example of actively caring enough to defend and be of service to others.
Instead of making fun of those who stand up and say something, arguing about how people contribute and what they’re contributing, being pessimistic and saying none of this really matters, would it hurt to think and do the opposite? Enough of the same people doing the right thing WILL make a difference and cause movement that only seems like a dream, right now.
All of our past leaders started out with an ideal they chose to fight for and gained the respect and support of others. Their beliefs grew on a vast scale and it got national attention. It took some truly awful things happening before the government took notice and said something HAD to be done in order for us to move forward in a positive manner or things were going to continue to get worse. We’re back in that same situation today and it’s going to take some people who are willing to fight, stand up to our government, and suffer moments of unrest and lack of peace. Pretending this stuff isn’t happening to retain temporary sanity and peace of mind is a band-aid.
But what do I know? I’m “The Activist”, remember?