Life is funny, I’ve spent so much of it focused on getting to the point I am at today: being a young working professional with a job at a global firm.
Every grade and most decisions had led me to my first job post graduate and to today.
My one year anniversary passed uneventfully and I’ve been spending some time truly thinking about what I’ve learned and how I’ve managed to balance it and what I aspire to do. I can mostly attribute it to finally recognizing the importance of self care in my life.
Self care, also known as a phrase that has exploded in popularity, is something I take very seriously and try to implement very lovingly throughout different aspects of my life. After spending the majority of my life truly running on 0%, anxious, forcing myself to do more and more, insecure, and unsure I actively decided to try to experiment with better managing balance and taking self care seriously. This has allowed me to spend this past year in the best mental space I have ever been.
I finally figured out that a decent amount of my anxiety stemmed from a lack of sleep and once I figured that out, a lot of my undesirable behavior and traits calmed down quite a bit. Starting with the foundation of getting enough sleep, I tackled my first year of professional life working to maintain a decent amount of balance.
Interestingly, this point of inflection came up when a close friend and recent graduate reached out to me to ask advice about balance. As I was talking to him, the thesis or the driving force behind my philosophy of how I tackled this past year manifested in an obvious force and have concluded that the key to my success has definitely been self care but a variety of self care that would not be possible without a healthy dose of discipline.
The discipline I’m suggesting is being “on” the entire time you’re working and then to immediately flip the switch when you’re done. While working you’re “on it” for 9 hours+ and during that time you are professional, proactive, timely, and responsive. But as soon as you’re done you’re done (as much as work, technology, and life can allow) and then you must engage in your various forms of self care that help to give more meaning to this new life you’re creating for yourself other than paying the bills.
Self care can look like any number of things but it, as a baseline for me, looks like: getting enough sleep, going out to dinner with friends and family and laughing, turning off tech, cooking, reading, exercising (which has been critical for me) and not talking about work more than necessary.
I went on to conclude that I can only be successful at work if I’m successful at taking care of myself which means down-time, self care, and me-time.
For my mental sanity, I’m currently not interested in comparing myself to peers because I’m only trying to compete with myself and perform better today than I did yesterday. Interestingly, I’ve never been in a better mental space, which was initially confusing but now comforting and has helped with my work ethic, my quality of work, and the way I hold myself. In addition, I’d probably say that being kind to myself, talking to myself kindly, and meditation has also been so helpful.
My self talk is enabling, kind, and encouraging. If I didn’t get everything I wanted to get done today, I know that I have tomorrow and that is okay and definitely not the end of the world (which is part of the negative self talk I would engage in on a daily basis, no wonder my mental health was being held together by a thread). Anytime I’m overwhelmed I actually give myself the opportunity to hit pause, to take a break, go for a walk, breathe, and meditate which helps with any feelings of near drowning.
I gave myself a full year of no judgement no goals no forcing myself to do this or accomplish anything momentous other than doing my job and taking care of myself. Ultimately, I felt as if it was a good way to go about this transition year and to fully settle into my new life that really is full of as much possibility as I allow for it.
My advice to recent grads is to find the activities that make you happy and to do them on a regular basis. However, this goes back to having discipline and to not just do the activities that are only comfortable, easy, and mindless (i.e Netflix. If you really do love Netflix, that’s great but how about you level up and try watching it in a different language?).
I know that one of the worst adjustments to working life is how much time I ended up spending sitting, inactive, and staring at screens. Also, due to the unpredictability of the end of the day, fitting in workouts, dinner, and social time usually ends up with me not having enough time to workout. Therefore, getting to sleep at a decent time and waking up before work to workout has been absolutely critical. Nothing makes me feel more accomplished than getting an AM workout BEFORE my day is officially started.
On the subject of health, one thing that I struggled with was finding time to go to the doctor to checkout my increasingly long list of health concerns that piled on throughout the year (like an ankle pain that wouldn’t go away). At a point, I was getting uncomfortable and my day was getting disturbed my mysterious pains. After putting it off for too long, I finally scheduled a slew of doctors and physical therapy appointments, tests, and included time to go see an acupuncturist. Don’t make that mistake: when health problems come up you must take the time to recognize that you can’t perform and won’t be happy if you’re in pain and you need to get them taken care of. Luckily, HealthTech (i.e ZocDoc) has really done a great job facilitating scheduling appointments and it’s now on you to schedule appointments and go.
I’d also push to suggest that since you’re entering a new phase in your life this would also be a good opportunity to test and explore new activities which I’ve coined to be new “adult activities”. Some of my adult activities include biking, triathlons, working at a gym, organizing events, participating in the LatinxTech community in NYC, listening to podcasts, experimenting with different food substitutes, composting, meditation, reading about science, and going to farmers markets. Just because you graduated that does not give yourself the excuse to stop learning and challenging yourself and that is something I can’t stress enough and it is something I try to incorporate into my life on a daily basis.
I’ve always had a lot of opinions about water bottles. At all times in my life, I’ve usually been carrying one and happily guzzling plenty of water throughout the day. I’ve tried out, lost, replaced, and used many interesting and cheap and expensive water bottles and I figured I could publish my thoughts on various bottles that I’ve been using.
Additionally, this could be another non-guilty way to encourage more people to carry around water bottles and to further demonstrate their functionality, design, and style.
I bought this que water bottle on a whim because I liked the color and shape and hoped that it would work well for travel. Overall, great for travel but not necessarily functional for everyday use.
- Brand: que
- Color: blue
- Material: silicone
- Size: 20 fl oz bottle – 4.8’’ x 2.8’’x 2.8’’ collapsed and 8.4’’x2.8’’x2.8’’ expanded,
- Weight: 5 oz (mostly because of the cap)
- Notes: can fall over if full
- Pros: good for travel, functional, great design, good for hot/cold beverages
- Cons: falls over, does not clean well
- Rating: 3/5
I’ve always been very resistant to klean kanteen bottles just by virtue of not being the biggest fan of stainless steel. However, after this recent purchase from tj maxx I can happily announce that I judged too soon. The design is clean and sleek, easy to carry in one hand, slightly heavy when full but fairly light when empty, and the nozzle at the top is the best part.
- Brand: klean kanteen
- Color: Green
- Material: 18/8 stainless steel
- Size: Classic 27oz
- Weight: 7.5 ounces (212.6 g)
- Notes: the paint has been chipping
- Pros: the size, the color, the shape
- Cons: paint has been chipping, can spill a lot of water if the cap is not on right
- Rating: 4.5/5
I saw dopper on a newsletter and decided to buy it on Amazon because I liked the idea of having a bottle and a cup so I can drink tea at work without having to use a paper cup. As an added bonus, “Dopper wants to live in a world where people are aware of the environment, where we actively reduce single-use plastic waste, and where everyone, close to home and far away, has access to safe and fresh drinking water” (Dopper).
- Brand: dopper
- Color: Cool blue
- Material: plastic
- Size: 2.4 x 2.4 x 9.4 inches
- Weight: 2.88 ounces
- Notes: Holds 15.2 oz and comes in 3 parts – bottle, cup, and cap. All materials are BPA and phthalate free.
- Pros: the design is interesting, small and compact
- Cons: does not clean well, the cup is only enough for 3 sips of water, stains easily
- Rating: 3.5/5
I recently read that going forward, since nothing is being dramatically done to curtail climate change, that intensely hot summers like this past summer is not only going to be “the new normal” but it is just a sneak peak of what is to come.
…the trend line is clear: 17 of the 18 warmest years since modern record-keeping began have occurred since 2001.
“It’s not a wake-up call anymore,” Cynthia Rosenzweig, who runs the climate impacts group at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said of global warming and its human toll. “It’s now absolutely happening to millions of people around the world.”
Be careful before you call it the new normal, though. Temperatures are still rising, and, so far, efforts to tame the heat have failed. Heat waves are bound to get more intense and more frequent as emissions rise, scientists have concluded. On the horizon is a future of cascading system failures threatening basic necessities like food supply and electricity (Sengupta).
Despite these alarming facts, nothing dramatic or global or far-reaching is getting accomplished. The journalist, David Wallace-Wells who wrote the biggest story on climate change last summer for NYMag is now asserting that,
climate change is not a matter of “yes” or “no,”…[but is] a binary process where we end up either “fucked” or “not fucked.”
It is a system that gets worse over time as long as we continue to emit greenhouse gases. We are just beginning to see the horrors that climate change has in store for us —but that does not mean that the story is settled. Things will get worse, almost certainly much, much worse.
Indeed, the news about what more to expect, coming out of new research, only darkens our picture of what to expect: Just over the past few weeks, new studies have suggested heat in many major Indian cities would be literally lethal by century’s end, if current warming trends continue, and that, by that time, global economic output could fall, thanks to climate effects, by 30 percent or more. That is an impact twice as deep as the global Great Depression, and it would not be temporary (Wallace-Wells).
The facts are only becoming more and more dire and as reported by Wallace-Wells, journalists are trying to honestly report but are also still hesitant to attribute summer fires and more commonly occurring heat waves to the effects of climate change.
All of these facts were incredibly heavy on my mind as I left for a week holiday with my family. My family had planned to go to Cusco, Peru for one week to explore Peru, visit our cousins, and to spend time together. I was excited to go back to the natural splendor of Latin America, the ease of la vida cotidiana, and to taste winter weather in August. Additionally, starting with this past trip, I planned to pause my news consumption to temporarily freeze anxiety and to use that extra mental energy to focus on a theme that I hope to learn and grow from. The theme manifested at an intersection between the environment, indigenous peoples, climate change, the harms of tourism, and the cost of plane travel.
As of the past two years of my life, I have quickly redefined myself as a (somewhat) seasoned traveler by doubling the amount of countries I’ve been too, living abroad, and taking every opportunity I can to leave the country, explore, and push myself out of my comfort zone. I’ve grown immeasurably and everything I’ve seen and done has so positively affected my outlook and my life. And I’ve benefited from this privilege by having more social clout, shamelessly and boastfully posting online, and experiencing things that I’ve never thought possible.
But there and many unavoidable and truths and pressures about travel that a traveler needs to reconcile with and they include the damage you manage to contribute to voluntourism, the influx of tourism in vulnerable locations, the mere carbon emissions from a single flight alone, the negative affects of climate change on those who contribute the least to it, and the “need to present a life free from the tyranny of a nine-to-five office job in the tight frame of Instagram” (Guardian Opinion).
I continuously struggle with the question of how to be an intentional and sustainable traveler and to emit as little emissions as possible. Previously, I would argue in favor of traveling intentionally and like a local, carrying around reusables, offsetting your emissions from your flight, doing research, being nothing short of courteous and willing to learn as much as possible, to purchase from local merchants, and suggestions like that.
Since finishing the genuinely insightful and delightful book Being the Change by Peter Kalmus I’ve concluded that those attempts are not enough. The emissions produced by being a passenger of a flight is comparable to all of the emissions produced by someone living in a rural area in a single year. Bottom line, you cannot claim to be concerned about climate change and reducing your impact if you are a flyer or a frequent flyer. I struggle with this non-negotiable considering that I am a consultant, I have family who live internationally, and the internal cost of my desire to travel. But it is something to consider especially because Kalmus continues to argue that attempting to offset your emissions doesn’t do enough.
Back to Peru, I want to highlight vulnerable tourist locations and indigenous people by looking through the lenses of my trip. Peru is a country that was brutally colonized by the Spanish back in the sixteenth century and that has continue to shape its’ history. However, Peru is also a country with a 45% indigenous population that still has Quecha being prevalently spoken. In 2017 it was reported that, “tourism in Peru’s protected natural areas generated $720 million” (Zuazo). Due to the natural beauty and history of Peru there really is an abundance of (photographic) sites to visit including Machu Picchu, la montaña de siete colores, valle sagrado, la amazonía, and more. These sites are nothing short of a testament “of a longstanding harmonious and aesthetically stunning relationship between human culture and nature” (UNESCO).
The pictures I took and instagrams I posted come incredibly short of actually portraying the real beauty of Peru and I cannot say enough good things about the people, the city, the country, and everything. Again, going back to the impact of climate change I want to focus on la montaña de siete colores. Interestingly, la montaña de siete colores was only added as a tourist attraction 5 years ago. Strange, right? Especially considering that you’ve probably seen plenty of saturated pictures of this colorful mountain….but it was because up until 5 years ago the mountains were covered by snow year-round and hid the mineral rich colors underneath a bed of snow. Due to the warming of climate change, the mountains are now visible and susceptible to an influx of tourists (like myself).
The varicolored mountain, with sediment created from mineral deposits over millions of years, was discovered only about five years ago, locals say. But it has become a must-see attraction for hikers, bringing much-needed cash to the area but also prompting concern about possible damage to the previously unspoiled landscape…But there may be a high price to pay for the tourism boom….John Widmer….lamented the environmental destruction occurring from the large number of tourists, adding that “the beautiful and fragile alpine environment is getting completely demolished” by the hordes of eager hikers who journey to the mountain. “I’m ashamed at the fact that we, too, personally destroyed a bit of the Andes during our trek to Rainbow Mountain (Magra y Zarate).
The struggle truly is, how do you balance the need to protect vulnerable sites but also benefit from “the flood of tourists [that] also brings with them a flood of cash to the small community of indigenous Pampachiri people living near the mountain” (Fessenden).
In order to protect unique sites like these conversations need to centrally focus on preservation and the indigenous people who are most affected by tourism and climate change. Throughout the trip, I could not get over the irony that the wealthy and tourists, who contribute to exploitation and climate change and who harm vulnerable sites, negatively impact climate change the most.
Indigenous peoples are among the first to face the direct consequences of climate change, owing to their dependence upon, and close relationship with the environment and its resources. Climate change exacerbates the difficulties already faced by vulnerable indigenous communities, including political and economic marginalization, loss of land and resources, human rights violations, discrimination and unemployment (UN).
The irony is not lost on me and it is something that was incredibly heavy on my mind during my travels. How can I even pretend to claim that I care about the environment, empowering global majority groups, and learning from others when I contribute negatively to sources that will ultimately hurt the world and the people and places in it? The earlier article cited about la montaña also very hopefully suggested that “just as photos on the internet helped establish Vinicunca’s popularity, perhaps reporting about the dangers of over-tourism at the colorful mountain can mobilize preservation efforts for its future” (Fessenden).
I definitely agree that reporting and raising awareness can be helpful but I am still unclear on where I stand and what I should do about air travel. Kalmus suggested that quitting air travel would help enormously and that alternate modes of transportation like “slow travel” would be sufficient replacements–suggestions I don’t disagree with.
The disconnect and the denial is something I know that I and plenty of others struggle to grapple with…it’s easy to be busy with the rest of your life and dismiss your impact. But, I would argue that individual impact is huge and that anything you can do to ~reduce, reuse, recycle~ would help but I would encourage you to really think about what else can you do and to empower your decisions. Can you cut out air travel or car travel or change your diet or not use an AC? Can you recognize that using fossil fuels might not even be making you happier? Think about all the misery (and emissions!) caused by sitting in traffic and getting stuck with a flight delay. Doing something is better than nothing…because we can’t look back to 2018 and realize that all we did was debate about the harm of straws.
You can’t rely on politicians, celebrities, and scientists to fix this problem because I believe that individual decisions and choices have an empowering impact that act as a ripple effect. As Kalmus advises, you need to try to make these changes out of a sense of joy and love because we love this planet, the beautiful places we visit, and people we meet and you can’t forget that they’re nothing but our neighbors and our community that we need to work towards protecting and preserving.
Now consider what really needs to be given up–because the answer is plainly apathy.
Again, been slow on the updates but it’s not surprising. I’ve been struggling with being on top of my other activities and maintaining a routine with all the recent travel (Guatemala, North Carolina, Mexico, Chicago) and work becoming busier.
At times, it has been frustrating but at others, it’s been easy to just get caught up in it and completely forget prioritizing other important activities.
The following is a a brief list of things I’ve been reading, seeing, thinking about, and listening to. It probably dates back to March when I originally intended on publishing this post but I did get around to it!
A little mad at myself that I only seem to remember this site during holidays that align with my values. Again, I need to spend some time evaluating how I want to use this site…but in the meanwhile Feliz Día Internacional de la Mujer / international day of the women.
It is a time to pause and reflect to be grateful and to be critical of what has passed and how we will drive towards a better and more inclusive future. It’s an exciting time to be a woman and a Latina and I want to stress how much in awe I am of the shoulders of other women that I have stood on.
A lot has been done and even more needs to be accomplished. Last night, my roommate told me about a truly despicable case that have resulted in a Yale student being found not guilty in a blatant case of sexual assault. This is just one example of millions of how much more we truly need to do.
From gun control, to inclusion in tech and infosec, to equal pay between men and women and between men and WOC, to change rape culture at school and in workplaces, for safe spaces, for respecting indigenous people, to saving the environment, and more femme led businesses and countries and more. Today is a reminder of what needs to be done and you cannot forget the imperative need to positively contribute to whatever this movement will end up being called in the future.
On this corporate scam day, I’ve been reflecting on the all of love in my life, the power of femme friendships, what I am truly passionate about, and self love.
To put it briefly, I am so often in gratitude from the magnitude of love I have in my life and it is something I never want to take for granted.
Last night, I hungout with some of my friends in the spirit of galentines and that mostly consisted of wine, cheese, cupcakes, pizza, and lots of catching up. It truly is remarkable how cathartic being listened to and understood and heard and recognized is. Femme friendships are truly important above most other things.
Due to a minor scare which has left me spending more time relaxing and recovering, I’ve been indulging in more reading, elearning, and skill building. Scares can somehow manifest into joyful things that require you to adjust your time and energy into things that you are equally passionate about. It can be an exciting thing (depending on how you choose to look at it) or excuse to fully pursue more things that interest you.
Additionally, Adrian Grenier is an advocate for skipping straws and excess plastic usage which I find to be inspiring. I’d like to take the opportunity to remind you that bringing metal straws around, using a reusable water bottle, and saying no to plastic bags is much easier than you would think. Fighting for a future with a cleaner ocean that is not negatively impacted by plastic usage is something you can do through advocacy and life style changes. I’d like to encourage you to consider your impact and realize that you physically want to have as little negative impact as possible.
Lastly, since so much of valentines day is focused on love and dates and spending and candy I also would like to draw attention to the importance of mindful self love. Admittedly hard to spend time on when there is so much life going on but I just wanted to include really simple things that you can do to start practicing self love. None of these are particularly radical or revolutionary but as long as they make you happy and remind you to practice things that you enjoy, that is all that really matters.
Just another attempt at succinctly reviewing the past year of my life–and what a ride it has been.
I finished my college education with everything wrapping up beautifully, graduated(!), lived in a different country, read, traveled across the world, started my first full-time job, and moved into my own apartment. It wasn’t my most challenging year but mostly a time where I was able to reap the benefits of many years of really hard work and it felt amazing. I constantly had to pause and truly take a good look around because there was an overwhelming amount to be utterly grateful for.
In summary, this year has mostly been a transition year that was land marked by a major milestone–I graduated college. Graduation has been looming far beyond my reach for the entirety of my life and to now change my language to assert that I’m a college graduate is something I suddenly find myself taking for granted. I also now work for a global firm and that alone is such a change, to casually mention my work and job and receive only impressed responses. It feels good but also so strange. I also officially full-time live in New York which has been another thrilling dream to finally realize. I walk around and I see such friendly faces, a new neighborhood to explore, and the light reflecting on a building in a new way and I sigh and am so utterly grateful to be here. Going into this year with the comfort of the knowledge that I am exactly where I should be and where I’ve always wanted to be is such a blessing and I still don’t think I can quite adequately express it. Going forward into this year, I need to continue to make the right steps forward.
More generally, it has been a year where it seems like talk of change and talk of actual initiative that finally involves the oppressors is happening. However it is, at the same time, a time when radical events are constantly breaking news makes it harder to recognize what is normal or absolutely inexcusable when several shocking things are happening at once. More specifically concerning the U.S, it is a shame that the election of a blatant white supremacist is what required more white folks to recognize the ways they contribute to implicit and explicit forces of systematic racism in this country and that oppression and sexism firmly holds this country back from actual progress but I guess that understanding is the first real step to more change. Progress is progress and I recognize that it is slow and stubborn and so susceptible to massive back steps but I am tentatively optimistic for a positive direction forward in this upcoming year.
But, what genuinely worries me most is that a change in attitude when it comes to climate change and massive sustainability efforts will similarly require something truly devastating to happen–the loss of cities, climate change worsening political issues and hastening refugees, the extinction of several significant species at once, hotter and hotter years, and continued weather disasters. I often wonder, what will it take to make the excess of air conditioning, lack of recycling, diet changes, and overall truly simple and easy life style habits seem to be imperative necessity instead of the continuation of superfluous and embarrassing waste and disregard for yourself and others. When will these changes become a non-negotiable necessity versus a luxury of time, life style, and desire. This is something that will be a leading driver in my year and my life going forward. I look forward to figuring out how to encourage my friends and family to give the environment a second thought, without just shaming or guilting them.
Causes to Donate to
If you are willing and able, I’d love to encourage you to consider participating in #GivingTuesday. So much of the holiday season is consumed with buying and receiving and taking a pause to reflect on what you can give and how much impact you can have is a welcome relief.
I’d like to encourage you to consider giving to smaller grassroots efforts and some ideas include:
( the following is referenced from here )
Additionally, if you haven’t heard, net neutrality is on the chopping block again. Hear me out, even if you don’t think so, you will be affected by any changes with net neutrality.
Basic Information on the FCC Net Neutrality Repeal
The 5 W’s of this Issue
Who : Federal Communications Commission (FCC), an independent government agency in which the President and Senate appoint the 5 Commissioners that direct the FCC.
What : Come up with a new or broader classification for Broadband Communication. It is currently a Title II Communication.
When : December 14, 2017
Where : United States of America
Why : To improve broadband and allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to choose websites in which they’d like to block or charge extra money. This will benefit ISPs, large and small.
This link contains the actual draft the FCC will propose.
This link describes the Title II Communications in simple terms. It also goes into some possible effects of the negative interpretation of the draft.
An alternate interpretation of the draft. To reclassify Broadband Communication.
This link will provide you with information on how to contact your local Congress members.
Unfortunately, due to my life quickly changing, I haven’t had the time to sit down and write about anything during the past couple of months. It’s been a bit of a bummer, especially because I had a bunch of great things planned for Hispanic Heritage Month, Cybersecurity Month, #metoo and every outrageous thing that happened in the news…but here we are, right before Thanksgiving.
And right now, I really can’t help but admit that life moves pretty fast.
Taking a moment to pause and reflect on adulthood, I would say that it has been strange but fun. No major complaints aside from the general growing pains with figuring out how to adjust to a new schedule and new demands. I travel for work now, need to constantly update my calendar, message my friends when I’m in town and let them know that I’m alive and want to hangout, and spent a really horrible month searching for an apartment.
Presently, I’m feeling burnt out and slightly under the weather, but really grateful for my life. And that definitely feels weird. What also feels weird? The fact that I just went to my first homecoming and it was fun and my summer feels like a lifetime away and that I have work friends and coworkers and all of these new expectations. I love that my life is different and I am just easing into these new expectations. Life and work and friends and relationships are all challenging but not in bad ways. This is just an opportunity to truly live by the values I’ve been touting in college–no trial run this time.
I recently moved to Harlem, a choice that I initially felt unsure about, but now feel entirely confident that this was the best decision for me. I’m living with my close friend, who I’ve tried scheming living together for years. I have a room with a closet and windows and plants. I live in a beautiful community that is simultaneously bustling and restful and historical. I am near a large park that is full of people and children and dogs and trees. I’m near express trains and a whole foods and famous restaurants and multiple compositing sites. I walk and bike around and discover new beautiful sites and I’m genuinely happy here.
To me, if that is not a direct sign that things work out, I’m not sure anything is.
So far, I’ve visited several new cities I’ve seen before, signed up for my first triathlon, traveled for work, attended a bunch of amazing events, tried out new workout classes, consistently bike around the city and find new things, celebrated 3 years with my boyfriend, moved in my first apartment and bought furniture and become more independent, booked my first vacation, started paying off my loans, and attempted to figure out this balancing act.
Some early thoughts so far:
hey new grads! be very kind to yourself
you graduated college and if you have a job–great! pinch yourself everyday this year and remind yourself that you’re pretty great and you worked so hard for this. you cannot–you MUST not forget that you wanted what you are now doing so badly and you can’t take that for granted. but also, don’t rest on your laurels–keep on showing up and bringing it on.
if you don’t have a job–have faith. somehow, things work out and you’ll be there. also, please ignore social media, it’s so deceiving.
you can still be part of communities. you just need to seek them but you would be surprised how many new communities you can now be a part of.
use this as an opportunity to take yourself out of your comfort zone. show up to random events by yourself. reach out. don’t say no and do it.
find some random hobbies that you’ve always wanted to try.
Here’s the thing
I graduated this year and was proudly told to set the world on fire. Additionally, that my Jesuit education has ruined me for life. Both are fairly lofty and idealistic and I’ve been wondering: what do they actually mean? How can you use your college educated mind and Jesuit spirit going forward? To start: to never be blind to injustice and to not remain silent.
Because you cannot forget that being silent, complicit, passive, and complacent is so easy. Voicing your opinion, pointing out racism, and stepping up and being an ally can be uncomfortable. But your comfort is not and should not be of that much importance when there is so much at stake.
Even more valuable is your voice especially if you are a person of reputation, privilege, and access to many willing ears. As a privileged, educated, white-passing woman living in New York, this is something that I take incredibly seriously. My days are devoted to being a proponent of intersectionality in all forms and for calling out, educating myself and others, recognizing my mistakes and when I lack in knowledge, stepping back for all WOC/POC and assisting by being a platform in every way, holding others accountable and being able to fact check, and figuring out actionable steps.
Action is so important and continuous daily action is even more important. It can be exhausting and daunting but again, I can assure you that the continuation and such real harms of racism, corruption in government, dictatorship, and climate change puts so much of what we and you hold dear at stake.
It is a privilege to ignore and pretend that none of this affects you in any way. Facts are more important than anything and should never be ignored. Your ego and your indifference are dangerous.
Change is possible and progress is vulnerable to ignorance.
Never forget that. Never underestimate how much harm you can do just by doing nothing and never underestimate how much good you can do.
The time to go through your day with your head down is not today. Your success will mean very little if you passively let things happen that you vehemently disagree with. Love is important but it is not a band-aid solution just at the mere mention of it because, “‘Love’ that won’t fight or sacrifice isn’t love. ‘Love’ that demands submission to violence isn’t love'” (Ju-Hyun Park). Additionally, “The hate we are facing is white supremacist, capitalist, cisheteropatriarchal, and ableist. To combat it, we must anchor ourselves in love for the people targeted by these systems: Black, indigenous, Asian, colonized, poor, working, houseless, undocumented, migrant, refugee, queer, trans, nonbinary, women, femme, non-Christian and with disabilities” (Love Needs Fury To Defeat Hate).
You showed up at a march or two? That is an excellent start but resistance is a daily act. It is an act that should guide your every move and thought. Don’t forget that black lives matter, there are unreported atrocities occurring in non-Western countries everyday, trans lives are important, sexual assault is an epidemic, white women voted for Trump, Native American populations are amongst the highest rates of suicide, dictatorship is not a thing of the past and it evens happens in your hemisphere, global warming is real and you can’t ignore science, Nazis are unacceptable, if you are white/white passing you benefit from any amount of white supremacy and you must be part of the dismantling of it, posting online is not enough, inclusion and representation changes lives, undoing racism (along with plenty of other isms) in your life will change your life, white silence is violence, and there is so much more to be advocated for.
And now: “outrage is appropriate. action is productive. get angry. then act” (Brittany Packnett).
Who to follow
- Jesse Williams
- Junot Díaz
- Deray Mckesson
- Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Brittany Packnett
- Raquel Willis
- Susan Fowler
- Tracy Chou
- Ai-Jen Poo
- Constance Wu
- Coraline Ada
- Alden Wicker
- Dr. Adrienne Keene
- Alicia Garza
- Prisca Dorcas
- Cecile Richards
- Lauren Duca
- Wesley Lowery
- Neil DeGrasse Tyson
- The Love life of an Asian Guy
- Denene Millner
- Antonio Arellano
- John Lewis
- Grace Parra
- Alejandra Campoverdi
- Kashana Cauley
- Franchesca Ramsey
- Gene Demby
What can you do?
- Displaced by Harvey? Here’s How to Get Help
- Here’s How You Can Help People Affected By Harvey
- “If you’re mad about the #ArpaioPardon, here are some things you can do with that energy:”
- NYC Calendar of Protests
- Fact check. Show up. Call out. Stay aware. Stay aware of current and past debates. Educate others. Make a personal change. Stay present
- Donate–if you are able to!!. Put your money where your mouth is. Consider donating to smaller organizations where your money can go farther.
- A List of Organizations Dedicated to Helping Immigrants and Refugees That Need Your Support
- Here’s A List Of Organizations To Donate To That Support Women, Immigrants And Young People Post-Election
- Donate to: RAINN, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Friends of the Earth, Border Angels, Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund, NAACP, Human Rights Campaign, and more will be added.
- Also donate to: Audre Lorde Project, Black Youth Project,100%, and the Police Reform Organization Group.
- Propose new ways to raise awareness
- Stay apprised on new legislation. It is now very easy to do. Have your local legislators on speed dial.
- Join a group or start your own
- Organize!! Learn about community organizing, participate in your community.
- Be intentional about the little ways you can individually combat climate change. Change your living habits, recycle, buy second hand, bike, donate and more!
- Follow activists and activist organizations. Support POC/WOC artists. Be an ally. Read literature that was not intended for you. Write, blog, tweet, and have those uncomfortable conversations with your midwestern family members who don’t get it and voted for Trump.
- Unlearn the racism that you have been marinating in all of your life.
- Stay persistent. Live what you preach. Organize. Take responsibility
- Check your privilege on the daily. You may not be affected that has happened yet but you might be and if you’re lucky enough not to be affected, use your privilege to help others. You’re a white woman who suddenly gets it? Cool, you still have plenty of work to do.
- Be intentional about the little ways you can individually combat climate change. Change your living habits, recycle, buy second hand, bike, donate and more!
- Follow activists and activist organizations.
- Support POC/WOC artists.
- Be an ally.
- Volunteer–if you are able to. If you don’t have enough money to volunteer your time is valuable as well.
- Read literature that was not intended for you.
- Write, blog, tweet, and have those uncomfortable conversations with your midwestern family members who don’t get it and voted for Trump.
- Unlearn the racism that you have been marinating in all of your life.
- If you’re in school, use that space for on-campus activism and organizing.
- Host workshops, volunteer, create dialogues, organize a protest and more. Use that network of people to keep them engaged and aware.
- Pay for good journalism and demand journalism that does not present “alternative facts”.
- Stay engaged; stay mad; stay vigilant.
- Your civil engagement is essential to combat hate and discrimination.
- If you are white or white passing, use your privilege to be vocal and to people from marginalized groups a platform.
- If you have a platform (a sorority/fraternity, a ton of followers, access to thousands of people through your org/club/university) use it.
- Direct your political energies
- Run for something or support progressives
- Be vocal
- Report hate crimes
- There are many crowdsourced lists that you can use and follow for your activism ==> things you can do re: Charlottesville
- Checkout lists of Collective Action (this is in reference to Charlottesville) that you can participate and contribute to
- “BE VOCAL AND LOUD. Post on social media that you are anti-white supremacy and that you denounce white supremacists (who are domestic terrorists) as well as Nazis. Do the same in your actual not-online interactions–even more important” (Collective Action).
- Advocate to replace statutes in tribute to white supremacy
- Monitor online circulation of false news
- Readily have facts and stats prepared to correct inaccuracies mid-conversations
- Action steps concerning the latest but also following up on events that kept swept away by the news cycle
- Thoughts on Charlottesville