In my parents’ eyes, becoming an activist was probably the most rebellious thing I have ever done. They only had two rules when I told them I was starting a Feminist group on Campus: 1. Don’t get arrested, and 2. We don’t want to see you on T.V. So far I have only broken one of those rules. Even if they don’t agree with 75% of the things I have done as an activist, and probably have questioned my sanity when I proudly posed next to a giant tower of Maxi pads in the student center, I know they are proud of me. As my time at Cleveland State comes to an end, and with it my involvement in campus activism, I have been reflecting on my activism, what I am proud of and what I am thankful for. Here is my short thank you letter to activism and the students I have worked with:
Thank You for the Community
Through activism I have made sisters, friends, comrades, allies and even opponents. They tell you CSU is diverse, and that you will experience so many different perspectives and experience in the classroom. It wasn’t the classroom where I made these connections, and you don’t connect with people who are different from you just by simply passing by them in the innerlink. I connected with people through activism. I have met people from all different walks of life, I have learned their experiences, the injustices they face, and how we can fight them together. My whole world view has expanded simply because I have decided to be a part of acting against injustices that other humans face. Now, if that’s not how you truly connect with another person then I don’t know how else you do it.
I am endlessly proud and happy to have worked with a great number of fellow students. We are a relatively small group on campus, but a powerful one, and I don’t want you to forget that. Never stop ruffling feathers and being the no-shit taking students that you are. Keep connecting to others, expanding, growing, learning, and pissing off administration now and again.
Thank You for Pushing Me out of My Comfort Zone
Four years ago I did not think that I would be talking to strangers about periods, drawing uteruses (or is it uteri?) in frosting onto cookies, interviewing people about catcalling, or cheerfully approaching college students with a bowl full of candy and condoms. But here I am and I am totally a better person for it! From leading meetings to being forced to speak in public, I have grown more confident. I have learned to approach people and to speak up, you have no choice but to do this if you want to see change.
For every student that I have ever stood with passing out flyers and who has grown numb to being silently rejected by other students, thank you. Even getting the chance to meaningfully speak to one person and make a point they may not have considered before makes it worth it. What you have to say matters, even if sometimes you think it is hard to say...keeping saying it.
P.S You haven’t lived until you’ve been cussed at angrily in the innerlink. I suggest everyone try it.
Thank you to Feminism
Thank you for putting words, thoughts, and actions to my internal feelings. Thank you for making me find a new way to love myself and understand my worth, my power, and teaching me to listen to others. Feminism has made me more compassionate, empathetic, and justly angry all at once. Thank you for making me radical.
The way I view the world, myself, and my future has completely changed thanks to feminism. For the past two years I have surrounded myself with people who feel likewise, and I love them all. I can’t wait to see how you all will continue to smash the patriarchy and take down the system.
My activism was formed here at Cleveland State, and after graduation in May I am excited to take a new a path with it. I owe so much to the fellow activists here. We all have a long journey ahead of us, and I am so happy to have started mine with all of you. I don’t think any of us will ever stop fighting, but you all have proved to me through all that we have done that what we are doing is possible, important, and extremely necessary.