The Idea of Equal Rights was in the Air

My heart has felt very heavy. I’ve been trying to sit down and write this post for hours, but my words feel jumbled and my brain is just foggy.

I’ve been thinking back to taking immense amounts of history notes last year, where I studied the “second half” of United States history. That was the first class I took where I felt I was actually being told everything. I mean come on, we’ve been lied to all our lives when it comes to history. Christopher Columbus? We’ve spent far too long coloring in cartoons of him laughing with Native Americans. Anyway, I had an extraordinarily liberal teacher who didn’t hold back the ugly side of history. That was the first year I questioned everything I had ever learned, and that’s a lesson we were never taught: question everything.

Today I can’t stop thinking about the silent fighters I spent so long learning about. I’ve always been intrigued by the bravery of the civil rights movement and the women’s rights movement. Where would we possibly be without the people who so bravely fought for our fundamental rights? And I can sit here today and say I am extraordinarily proud to be a part of THAT America.

THAT America is built on the courage and selflessness of extraordinarily brave men and women.

THAT America does not discriminate against race.

THAT America does not question who can love whom.

THAT America is beautiful and colorful and full of every culture that calls it home.

THAT America welcomes those who need a home.

THAT America does not use religion as a discriminatory weapon.

THAT America is the one we will NEVER stop fighting for.

Aren’t we all American? Doesn’t that mean something? We’ve sung the songs, we’ve read the books, we’ve been told about racism, sexism, and every other ‘ism’ there is. We’ve stood up for the pledge every day of our school careers. Doesn’t that mean anything at all?  And before you go on a twitter rant about people not respecting this country, maybe it’s because the people in this country don’t respect them. Have you ever thought of that? Have you ever once looked around and realized who you’re standing up and singing the National Anthem with. Have you ever realized that the person next to you standing for the pledge, might be gay? Might be black? Might be a woman or Muslim or anything that isn’t a white male? Did you really vote for liberty and justice for ALL?

Okay, I get it, I’ve been saying the same vague, poetic mantra, that “every other liberal” has tweeted.  So now I will tell you what we must do.

I was in a play last year called the Rose of Treason, about a rebel group of German college students who produced an anti-Nazi leaflet called the White Rose. I played Sophie Scholl, one of the members of the White Rose. I’m not going to get into it, but, I’ve never felt more like Sophie than I do now. I’m a very privileged girl, maybe not so much because I AM a girl, but I’m privileged let’s be real. I’m a white person in suburbia, I know my privilege and I’m going to fight for those who don’t have what I have. I think we all need a little more of that within ourselves.

We must stop with this “every man for himself” mindset, and especially the “self made man”. Everyone helps each other, that’s how it works, whether we like it or not every single one of us impacts each others lives.

Help your neighbor, help your friend, help your community. If you’re going to put “good old American ideals” on a pedestal, then why not take those ones into consideration.

You may not be the murderer, but you still helped with the crime.

Now let’s make art until our hands bleed and yell until our lungs are weak, until the day we all live in THAT America.

For All:

they forgot
we are seeds

come together
racism won’t ever affect you

no more hurting people
that’s where we begin

kind of worried
never been more scared

you are valuable
hope will never be silent

our revolution continues
you’ve got to give them hope

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