About macheck11

Hey Y'all! I am starting my journey into a YAV year for the 2016-2017 year. This will be my forum to share all my thoughts, musings and experiences while I prepare for Chicago, as well as I live in Chi-town

Reflections on a Year as a Young Adult Volunteer

On July 30th, I flew home from my YAV year. I got some much needed time with friends and family before moving to begin my next adventure in D.C. I also had the privilege to speak at First Presbyterian Church, Lexington, my home church, to share my story. Below is the transcript of my message, for those so inclined. You can also find the recording on iTunes podcasts.

Good Morning! I am so honored o be here today, to be home, to share with y’all where my journey has taken me over the last year. But first, before I get into all of that, I would just like to say Thank You. Almost two years ago I reached out to Pastor Lee and the session to offer official support in a year of service, a program called the Young Adult Volunteers, a mission of the PC(USA). I know full and well that I wouldn’t have had the courage to serve the denomination if it weren’t for the love and mentorship I received growing up in this congregation. I would not be who I am today, or have the motivations to serve without the experiences I had in Acts Alive, YDs and Sunday School. So Thank You!

A few moments ago, we heard from the prophet Jeremiah at the potter’s house. The clay spoiled, and rather than throwing the spoiled clay away, the potter reworked and reshaped the medium to create a piece that was once again pleasing in the eye of the creator. And the Lord says in verse 6: “Can I not do with you…just as this potter has done?” Spending the last year in Chicago has shaped and transformed me in ways I thought could happen, but was completely unprepared for. Hindsight being what it is, I am only now really able to see the fractures of my brokenness, and it is only because of my year living in Chicago as a Young Adult Volunteer, that I recognize the belovedness bestowed upon me.

As a YAV in Chicago, there were certain core tenants my community and I were expected to live by. Values that we all agreed are important, and were the framework for us to open ourselves up to where God was calling each of us: Intentional Community, Simple Living, Dedication to Social Justice, Vocational Discernment, and Spiritual Formation. They are some fun buzz words, but what do they actually mean?

Intentional Community means creating a life together; becoming a family. Not just occupying the same space. Going into my year of service, I was nervous about living in intentional community for many reasons: one being that I hadn’t lived with strangers since I was a freshman at State, and two, there was this expectation to open your whole self up to the community, and be honest about who you are as an individual in order to journey together through all the ups and downs, twists and turns that life can throw at you. Well that is really scary for me. That vulnerability is contradictory to every fiber of my being, and it forced me to take a long, hard look in the mirror and see the aspects of my personhood that could use some work

Now I wasn’t the only one taking a long look in the mirror. That was one of the great things about living in community: we lived and grew together, accompanying and supporting each other as we faced the baggage we all carried. This camaraderie allowed us to dialogue on more complex issues. With our vulnerabilities out for everyone to know, we could discuss the injustices we witnessed and experienced, free from judgement. In the wake of dissecting my personal brokenness– the fear of isolation, and the persistent feeling of being lost in this world and in my faith– my community members accompanied me as God the Potter began to rework this vessel.

The next core tenant, Simple Living, manifested itself by us living within the same means as our community. East Garfield Park has a median income of $13,000. 42.4% of families live below the poverty line. To live in solidarity with our community, we were completely reliant on public transportation, we were intentional about the ways we spent our stipends, and we were on food stamps. My intentional community made the decision to apply for SNAP (supplemental nutritional aid program); the thinking was that in order to understand the neighborhood we now live in, we need to take on some of the hardships our neighbors live with. Which leads into Dedication to Social Justice.

Not just being on food assistance, but looking at WHY so many people are living in poverty. I spent the year discussing the systemic issues of justice. Not just recognizing that people are being arrested, going hungry, getting sick, but looking at what systems are in place that perpetuate these injustices. Concepts like housing discrimination,fair labor practices, stigmas, all the stigmas were studied through book discussions as well as open dialogues between YAVs and native Chicagoans. Dedication to social justice also manifested in the attendance of panel discussions, rallies, and protests; for us to stand up to unjust systems that we no longer want continued. And for me, it was in those times of standing in solidarity that I first recognized the power of being in a community of faith, standing shoulder to shoulder with individuals that felt called and took actions BECAUSE OF their faith to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, invite the stranger in, clothe the naked, look after the sick, and visit the incarcerated.

Listening and learning from those who know far more than I do about the intricacies of faith-based social justice work expanded my idea of my own potential to make a difference in this world. If you had asked me 2 and a half years ago where I would be and what I was doing, I would be giving you a totally different answer.

In the spring of 2015, I thought I had my whole life figured out (irrelevant of where God may have been calling me). And then I got my first rejection letter. And then another rejection, and then basically 6 months of rejection letters. *Cue here for the beginning of the YAV process* I was arrogant. I didn’t trust God,I didn’t think I needed her, I didn’t have faith in whatever plan she had in the works, and all the doors I thought I wanted got slammed in my face.

We heard a portion of Paul’s letters to the Philippians. In the verses just before Paul writes: “not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith.” Now, I don’t know if what I understand from that piece is what Paul meant, but my takeaway is that it didn’t matter that my resume was “perfect” according to my standards; there was something bigger to work for, and for me, that meant being told NO a lot to finally stop and listen to what I was being called to do.

Now part of the YAV year is to find a worshipping community, to have a faith community that was outside the other YAVs. Unlike other cities in the YAV program, Chicago worshipping community isn’t predetermined. We all come from various background in terms of worship style, and even denomination (YAV doesn’t require you to be Presbyterian). And rather than being forced to all attend the same worshipping community we were strongly encouraged to find a community that felt like home to us, so I got the chance to visit lots of different places. Frankly, it felt like that exercise you do in Confirmation where you visit different places to make sure that actually want to be in the community you are in. With that opportunity, I went to a church that called itself inter-denominational, and it was a nice change of pace for awhile, but it didn’t feel quite like home.

In the midst of searching for a worship community, my housemate I went to God Talk on Tap hosted by Friendship Presbyterian Church and a couple other churches on the North Side. This conversation was themed on…God. Specifically, it focused on the power of stories, and how we connect our story to God’s story. As we went around sharing crucial stories to OUR identity, a common theme seemed to begin to emerge. Messiness. The messy and complicated stories we each hold, but also the messy and complicated stories we find in our holy text. And to sit in circle with people from different backgrounds, life experiences, and identities, but all dealing with a form of brokenness, well, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more at home in my adult life. As we began to close our conversation, facilitator said something that shaped the remainder of my YAV year. “You are Broken…AND You are Beloved. You ARE broken and you ARE beloved.”

That was earth shattering for me. Now I’m sure that similar sentiments had been shared over the course of my church life, but it wasn’t until that moment that it clicked. I am broken AND I am beloved. It wasn’t “you are broken BUT you are beloved.” It was two distinct statements. It truly is amazing how powerful chosen language is. If the statement had been “You are broken BUT you are beloved” then it would’ve gone in one ear and out the other. The AND takes into account the feeling of brokenness: that is a real and valid and part of my identity. If it were “You are broken BUT you are beloved,” well, it feels more condescending as if to say “I know you are going through a tough time but let’s not dwell on that because God loves you despite it”

One of my consistent growth edges throughout college, not college, and YAV is my need to be perfect and my need to feel like I’m in control. I’m sure y’all can attest to the fact that very few things in this world are perfect, or can be done perfectly, and the further you are into adulthood, the fewer things you have control over. But by coming to a better understanding of my own brokenness, my own shortcomings, and my own imperfections I’m finally able to discuss rejections, and the failures that I’ve experienced.

The brokenness, shortcomings, or imperfections any one individual feels does not take away from belovedness bestowed upon us. Similarly, brokenness in Chicago does not outweigh the belovedness of my city. Chicago gets lots of national attention, a lot of that attention isn’t positive. And that is the overarching story our world knows of Chicago, but it isn’t the whole story. There is also love, I’ve felt it. There is hope. There is pride. There is an overwhelming fight for justice. There is joy. Mary Pattilo, a sociologist from Northwestern sums Chicago up in a way that does this beautiful city justice: “I don’t understand why all of that (the joy, and goodness) gets TOTALLY overshadowed by what is Real Pain, but is not the totality of our existence.” There is real pain and real trauma. AND this city is beloved. With some of the most caring and considerate people I have ever met.

Broken and Beloved. If I got nothing else from this year, this is what I know. Recognizing the belovedness WITH the brokenness shows a more genuine perspective to the lived experiences.

I don’t really have the words to describe just how life altering this year has been. The tag is YAV: A year of Service for a Lifetime of Change. I know that I have grown and stretched intellectually, emotionally, as well as spiritually. Knowing and learning to accept the brokenness in myself, my fellow YAVs, and the city while relinquishing the desire to fix it…to become perfect and expect all those around me to be perfect allowed me to see the belovedness. To see the love God has for everyone, no matter where they are in their lives. We, as humans, are broken, and We are beloved.  

In a State of Transition

Transitions are tough. In fact, I’d even put them under the label “the worst.” No matter the circumstances, leaving one circumstance and starting over, for me, is bittersweet. With less than 3 weeks left in my year of service as a Young Adult Volunteer, it is tough to not think about my current state of transition. There is a part of me that feels like I arrived to Chicago only yesterday. But also…it feels like a lifetime since I was at Stony Point.

Personally, I have been in a state of transition since May 2015. The spring of my senior year at NC State, I honestly thought I had everything figured out. And then the first rejection letter came, and then another, and then another until finally I stopped sending resumes to the dream jobs. I worked 3 part-time jobs I didn’t particularly enjoy, I moved back home (thankfully my parents are too good for me and let me come back home for a bit), and for the first time in my life I didn’t have a plan. End Transition 1.

Transition 2: Thanks Navy

Around December of 2015 my dear, sweet, big brother got an apartment in Honolulu; signed a lease, and was set to leave for a 6 month deployment at the end of January, leaving all his stuff in this newly acquired, uninhabited dwelling place. We talked, and somehow it came up that if I could get there, then I would have a place to stay for 6 months. So a week after my 23rd birthday, I packed my things, got on a plane, and relocated to Oahu. I found a job lifeguarding at a YMCA, made friends and was living my best life (with the understanding that this relocation was completely temporary).

Transition 3: Hawaii

Not even a week after my relocation to the island, I got the email I had been waiting for. I had been selected to serve as a Young Adult Volunteer in Chicago. I was simultaneously excited and terrified. I had just moved, started a job I enjoyed in a place that’s climate was much more suitable to my life than even the thought of the Arctic Tundra that is Chicago. But I knew it was something that I had to do. When I began to announce to my family, friends, colleagues, and associates that at the end of August I would be moving to Chicago, the responses varied, from: “You just moved to Hawaii…with the beach, and sun! Why on earth are you going to move back to the mainland?” to “Well…won’t that be an adventure.” Some responses were more supportive, those who were closest to me understood the discernment process I had to go through for YAV, and respected my need to try something different. And so, with a solid deadline of when I would have to be leaving, I worked and lived in the place of my dreams. I was able to create friendships that made living on the island less lonely, experienced a whole new world perspective. This chapter in my life forced me to consider, without it ever blatantly be spoken, my role as a mainlander in the history of Hawaii, as well as see how a city filled with aloha responded to the marginalized. It was the perfect place for me to heal from rejection, and grow into the person I wanted to be; preparing myself to pick up my life and start all over one more time.

Transition 4: **There is language that some may find inappropriate or crude. Read it anyways**

My time in Chicago has been challenging and rewarding, frustrating and liberating and everywhere in between. It is no cake walk, and I wouldn’t even say it is for the faint of heart. Doing a year of service in Chicago has wrecked me in so many ways that I honestly don’t know how to explain it to those who don’t have a similar experience (stay tuned to see if I ever figure it out). The constant trauma my neighborhood lives in is draining. And it really fucking sucks to witness multitudes of injustices, want to do something about it and feel like you have no power within the system to make a change. As an Eight on the enneagram, it fits that I want security and control and power, and holding the dichotomy of wanting the power to effect change, yet being a program where you have little to no autonomy to effect that change in the way that makes sense for you as the individual is shitty. I knew I was going to get wrecked intellectually. I have never lived in city that is so clearly divided, and there is tons that I still don’t know or fully grasp about some of the intricacies of this beautifully complex place. I didn’t expect to get emotionally-wrecked, but it is the emotional portion of my life that needed to be wrecked. When I began my year in Chicago, I knew graduate school would be the next step, but I needed to figure out where I was being called, and to what I was being called. My frustrations and anger in my inability to heal the generational wounds that are present has led me to seek a way to change the institutions which caused harm.

Transition 5: Carolina Keep Calling Me Home

In two weeks I am getting on a plane to fly back to NC! After a week of R&R and hustling around I will be moving to Washington DC to pursue my Masters of Arts in Public Policy. I will finally be in a place to effect change in the systems that perpetrate the injustices I witnessed for months.

In the last few weeks the pieces on the board have finally begun to come together. I have housing, I have a roommate, and I have my class schedule (still waiting to hear about a job but hey you win some and you lose some). In the midst of planning my next steps, it has been all too easy to check out of my life here. The mentality that I’m basically done isn’t fair, and yet beginning to cut those cords is my natural inclination. Am I looking forward to move on? Absolutely! Am I going to miss the family I’ve created here? More than I could ever articulate! How do I hold both? Recognizing the joys of the next adventure aren’t quite here. I will (more than likely) never leave with my community again, and while living with 5 others has never been a walk in the park, it has been one of the most transforming experiences I have had in my adult life. To have people that I can break down in front of, people that I know me and know at what times I need a hug and at what times I just need to scream into a pillow is comforting.

I don’t know what my future holds, but I do know that I am a better person for being a YAV. I know that transitioning out of this space is going to be as equally tough as it was to transition into this space. I don’t know if I’m ready for that transition, but ready or not here it comes. The one thing I’m remotely certain on is that I came to Chicago and now I’m going to DC, and there has to be a reason for it (even if I have zero clue what the reason is).

Transition 6: To be Continued…

I am just one person, but…

Working in Chicago, it is super easy to realize how passionate you are about multiple issues. In the birth city of community organizing, there is always a protest or rally to attend. With all the issues converging, and with the increased awareness of intersectionality (the place where issues overlap, or intersect), it is just as easy to get bogged down in a sense of hopelessness because there are SO many social injustices that need to be addressed.

On retreats at the Darst Center, we talk about Circles of Influence. We use this tool to really address how to not feel SO overwhelmed when looking at all the social justice issues there are in our nation and everything that needs to be done, but also understanding that we as individuals only have a certain amount of time and energy to expel on social justice issues. For example: if I cared super deeply and passionately, and acted upon those passions for all the issues then I’d easily get burnt out, as well as be fairly ineffective. Circles of Influence help to decipher what issues pull at your heart strings, the issues that set a fire in your gut.

Something that I love about ChiYAV is that we all work on different things. There is a mix of direct service and education. No two people in my community are doing the same type of work. For me, that’s really liberating; my work experience is vastly different than the work experience of Emily or Kyle, and so we can discuss the highs and lows of our day without comparison because our work situations are so different there IS no comparison. While I haven’t actually done Circles of Influence with my community members, I feel confident that the issues that fire me up don’t fire up some of my other housemates the same way. There is an understanding that all of them are important, and it’s okay that we are all working on different things. It’s how the Circles of Influence work.

As one person, I may not be able accomplish as much as I’d like to, but with my community (and my community members’ communities) the impact increases. And while I am just one person, I’m not alone in this overwhelming world of social injustices.

And I’d do it Again

Shots fired. Tires squealing. Sirens blaring. I grabbed my pack and I went. While running to the scene, I saw 1-2 patrol vehicles on sight, but no one was with the victim. The rest is a blur of tunnel vision and adrenaline. Trying to stop the bleeding on this 22 year old’s leg, keeping him calm and conscious and ward off the symptoms of shock until the EMTs arrived on scene.

This isn’t the first time YAV Chicago has experienced violence in close proximity to our house. Almost 2 months ago there was a fatal shooting behind our house at the opening of an alley. Between Thanksgiving and mid-January, there were a string of shootings in our vicinity. When you write it out like this…it sounds like we are living in this war torn area, similar to what the national media would have you believe. But I want it to be very clear: THIS IS NOT THE WHOLE STORY. I have firsthand experience that this shit is scary. I am scared, but not in a “let’s hide under the covers” scared or even a “get me the fuck out of here” scared. The best way I can explain it, after the adrenaline dump, is that I am scared for people. I know I will be okay. Heaven forbid anything happen to me, I have a support system and a wealth safety net, that I will be okay. However, in my processing of this event, I know that the 22 year old victim more than likely does not have those same luxuries.

While I have all of these anxieties, and I will probably be in various stages of processing this experience for a long time, I also think that it is important to look at the systems which have pushed out thousands of men of color, and why there seems to be this perpetual cycle. Food insecurity, housing discrimination, the “War on Drugs,” access to healthcare, and many other social justice issues intersect and create this environment of unrest in communities that are disproportionately affected.

There are three events in my life that I have had to use my American Red Cross training in non-work environments. The first: my senior year of college, a man experiencing homelessness dropped and had a seizure right in front of me. At the end of this interaction, I learned that the local paramedics were familiar with this gentleman, meaning he had seizures regularly and couldn’t afford the necessary medication. The second: the experience I describe in an early post about my time in Chicago “20 minutes” and the third being yesterday May 07, 2017. I guess I should do a big shout out to my instructors, because in each of those scenarios, I didn’t hesitate. My flight or fight instinct kicked in and I went running straight into a scenario where shit had hit the fan. I’m not sure why that is my instinct, except for all I know is that is how I’m wired. While there are always inherent risks in responding to a scenario as a private citizen, and while there are inherent risks in responding to a scenario in the middle of a neighborhood that is going through some serious shifts in regards to the gang activity. But none of that mattered in the moment. All that matters is that a person needed help, and I had some training to help.

And I would do it again.

What Care? SELF-CARE!

I’m gonna be real y’all, self-care is important. Prior to my YAV year, I had a few different methods of #selfcare and most of them involved #treatyoself.

treatyoself

In college and after, I got into a habit of going to Target and buying either a new pair of shoes, or a new bag, or even going to Sephora and spending too much money on items that I was convinced I needed (irrelevant of the fact that I may or may not ever use them). Not that consumerism is bad, and I fully support #treatyoself on the rare occassion, but my “treats” started to become so regular that they were almost an expected thing. *Note this was a time when I was making enough money that a biweekly “treat” was not financially reprehensible*

Now comes the time for my great revelation: When you’re #ballinonabudget (or living simply) biweekly trips to Target, for shoes and bags, and Sephora, for whatever new product is out, are not exactly economical. Which means, I’ve had to find other ways to clear my head and get the same rush of adrenaline that finding the perfect pair of wedges always had. Frankly, depending on the day (and the stressor that I am trying to cope with) I’ve acquired a few different skill sets to help me decompress. Some days, it is cooking a meal that I love (a la making jambalaya for my housemates). Some days it is finding fancy words on my Pinterest, and then hand-lettering them. Most days, my adult coloring book does wonders for my blood pressure. But more often than not, I find solace in an incredibly snarky guided meditation *Language Warning*

I think it’s fascinating that guided meditations and visualization meditations have become my go-to self-care activity. I’ll be the first to admit that I used to think some guided meditations were just a little too crunchy granola for me. I’m a person of action, and so taking 5 or 10 or even 30 minutes to sit in the quiet and deal with whatever is going on in my head is counterintuitive.

My takeaways:

  1. Money can’t buy peace of mind. If I get nothing else out of this year, my YAV year has made me hyper-aware of my spending habits.(Although I have always been aware of my spending habits, I just earned enough money monthly to be a little more materialistic with my spending habits)
  2. Give new forms of self-care a chance. If I had just stuck to traditional journaling then I would have missed out on the deeper inner peace that meditation offers me.
  3. Mix up self-care techniques. When the world feels like it is crashing around me, completing a page in a coloring book is a way to ground myself in things I do have control over. When I have too many thoughts running around my mind, traditional journaling helps sort out the substance from the mania. And when all I want to do is scream and/or punch something/someone, a guided meditation calms me and offers a chance to regain control over my emotions so I don’t say or do something I may later regret.

 

Questions….

How do we, as Christians, show up?

How do people who read the same holy text as I come to such different conclusions?

How do I show up for social injustices in a Trump Administration?

3 questions that have in some way affected my YAV year. The first, a continuous challenge; the second, a question I have wrangled with my entire adult life; the third, a new reality.

I remember having a conversation with my campus minister that I didn’t like to identify myself as a Christian. I was spiritual but not religious. I had faith, and even though I was a incredibly active member in Presbyterian Campus Ministry, am a cradle Presbyterian, and am now an employee of the PC(USA). I didn’t like being associated with an institution that, in my eyes, was ripe with contradiction and hypocrisy. My knees would quiver at the thought that someone would associate me with the so much hate and discontent. An institution that made members sign forms saying they wouldn’t drink (even though they were of age) or that women couldn’t be leaders.

While I always associated Presbyterianism with what “church” meant, I knew very well that the home my family had found at First Presbyterian Church, Lexington NC, was not the experience for everyone.  I thought that if I admitted I was a Christian (and a person who was, then immediately the people who had negative experiences with the Church would associate me with that negativity, and I didn’t want that.

So, I let my actions speak for themselves,. If people thought I wasn’t a terrible person, and if I was doing my best to do no harm then it wouldn’t matter how I make sense of the messy world we live in. That’s how I would “show up.”

This need to distance myself from the institution was due to all the dialogues I had ever had related to my second question. I don’t get it…I don’t understand how I can read a story of unconditional love and inclusion, and someone else reads the exact same words, and interpret hate, or exclusion, or love with addendums. Now, I’m no theologian. I’ve never studied the works of theologians, but I cannot get behind a human who tries to tell me my God is hateful or exclusionary. I don’t buy it. I whole-heartedly disagree with a person who thinks that my God doesn’t want me to care about the world, the whole world, the world that may look or sound different than me.

Which brings me to the struggle of my third question. How do I show up for social injustices in a Trump Administration?

The first thing I have to do: name that I work for the Church; name that I drank the Presby Kool-Aid and it’s a part of my identity that has shaped me in ways I can’t even begin to explain. I can neither shy away from the fact that there are people who have had negative experiences in my faith tradition, nor can shy away from the fact that there are people in my faith tradition who I do NOT agree with.

At the end of 2016, I began applying to graduate programs and I was struggling with my personal statement. I had a friend who point-blank asked me: Meredith, why do you care about people who have been dealt a worse hand than you? The answer: I care because I do. Growing up, I witnessed adults deeply caring about the world around us. That was my expectation for adulthood, that I would care. My time in Chicago has only intensified the deep-rooted need for there to be equity, not just equality.

This election was tough…I had such hope in humanity that I never even considered for a minute that we would be where we now are. I don’t know what the next 4 years are going to look like, but if the first 3 weeks of this administration can offer any insight, then this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint.

I do know that everything in my being rejects the rhetoric of hate, repression, and oppression. I know that I can’t bite my tongue when I witness a blatant disregard for human dignity. I know that I am broken and I am beloved.

I figure that if my gut is telling me I shouldn’t accept what is going on in this country that I love, then that just may be God nudging me towards where I need to go.

“It is important to fight and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay though never quite eradicated.”–Albus Dumbledore

Nevertheless We Will Persist.

Why wouldn’t I?

Over the last week, I’ve seen lots of #WhyIMarch to take ownership of the Women’s March on Washington (Chicago, NYC, and all the other sister marches globally). Every time I considered posting a #WhyIMarch, I realized, that for me at least, I could not put one simple eloquent reason why I joined 250,000 people in downtown Chicago. So here, in a incredibly discombobulated list…here are some reasons (in no specific order) #WhyIMarch

I March because:

  1. No one should dictate where I get my pap smear (#IStandWithPP)
  2. Tampons, pads, and diva cups are not “luxury” items
  3.  Everyone should be able to pee in a public restroom without fear
  4. I should have access to comprehensive health care no matter my income (including safe abortions)
  5. Rape Culture is a THING
  6. Internalized misogyny is a THING
  7. Educators are underpaid and underappreciated
  8. Climate Change is real
  9. Anti-Choice isn’t Pro-Life
  10. Humanity demands Dignity
  11. Journalists have a right to write without fear of federal prosecutions
  12. The elite should be held to the same standards as the rest of us
  13. The United States has great responsibility globally
  14. Isolationism isn’t possible in a globalized world and angering those who have been our greatest allies is BAD policy
  15. Vladimir Putin is an ABSOLUTE, TERRIBLE HUMAN BEING
  16. My government CAN NOT be friendly with a government/leader (Russian/Putin) who has its opposition gunned down in the streets
  17. Sovereignty is key and it must be respected
  18. We are a country of immigrants #NoWallNoBan
  19. My world is starting to look way too similar to a dystopian novel
  20. And finally:

I march because Us/Them mentality is damaging to the ENTIRE society.

Some may disagree with this list. Some may try to discredit my list by calling me a “sore loser”, a “crybaby”, an “attention-seeking millennial”, or asking “What does this white woman know about oppression?”

Here’s my response:

I am an attention-seeking millennial. I am seeking attention for the marginalized, those afraid of what this new administration means for their day-to-day lives. I want to use my whiteness, my privilege, to hold up the voices of those who have been repressed and oppressed for much longer than I.

With everything I have witnessed, everything I have experienced, and everything I know, why wouldn’t I march?