From “What Ifs?” to “What Now?”

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Last night I saw this tweet and it really resonated with me because it is a thought I’ve had so many times over the years sitting in various classrooms.

 

I sat in a classroom and learned about slavery and segregation and I thought about how if I were alive then I would be an abolitionist or marching with Dr. King Jr.

I sat in a classroom and learned about Women’s Suffrage and I thought about how if I were alive I would be fighting along aside Susan B. Anthony.

I sat in a classroom and learned about the Holocaust and I thought about how if I were alive I would have been sheltering Jews and punching the hell out of Nazis.

I sat in a classroom and learned about the fight for access to birth control and Roe v. Wade and I thought about how if I were alive I would have been handing out pamphlets with Margret Sanger (while questioning her belief in eugenics & other problematic behavior) and escorting women safely to clinics.

I sat in a classroom and learned about Stonewall, and the AIDS crisis, and Matthew Sheppard and I thought about how if I were alive (and in some cases more than just a child) I would be fighting with those people for equal rights.

I sat in a classroom and learned about how after 9/11 Muslim-Americans were being attacked just for existing and having their faith and I thought about how if I were around when I saw such an attack I would protect those individuals from this hatred.

 

So, so, many times I have sat in a desk in a classroom and thought about the “what if’s” and never did I really expect that I would eventually be living in a time when it became prevalent and a question of “what do I do NOW?” Even though I have heard the old adage about how if we don’t learn from history it is bound to repeat itself I naively didn’t expect any of these issues to be the history we were stupid and ignorant enough to repeat.

I knew racism wasn’t dead, but I didn’t think we would have to have movements of people asking others to remember their lives matter or to have the deaths of black people just brushed away. I knew that homophobia wasn’t dead, but I watched so much progress unfold (far before I thought we were actually going to have it) that I didn’t think that we would regress so quickly. I knew sexism wasn’t dead but I didn’t think it would go as far that we were still ignoring sexual assault and rape and still blaming the victim at every chance we got. I knew xenophobia wasn’t dead but I did not think that we would be actually banning people from entering our country when it’s a principle of our nation to welcome others.

However here we are, with a President who in just his first week in office has published so many disgusting and honestly unAmerican executive orders that there is no longer time to sit and dwell on those feelings from classrooms of the past. The classroom of now is the scary country we are currently living in and no longer can we ponder about “if I were alive then, I would’ve…” we have to conceptualize what we are going to do today, now, if we want to stand with our brothers and sisters who are under attack for simply existing.

There are many ways to help and be of assistance and to fight, and a lot of that starts by being vigilant and aware of what is going on. Hold this administration accountable for the awful things they are attempting to make common place. Call your representatives and senators and let them know that they are here to serve you and it is their duty to listen to you and all Americans who are being targeted.

Unfortunately we are already going to be in the history books because we allowed someone of this caliber to be elected to the highest, most powerful position in our country. But please, don’t let him and his administration expand our place in future textbooks as a country that rewound time and progress by allowing and advocating for hate and discrimination. We are better than that.

The time is now, you’re alive. What are you going to do?

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