Youth can become activists in United States by getting involved

activism

When I first came to the United States as a student, I set up a life plan so that by the time I was 25, I could proudly bear the title of “activist.”

As a freshman, I read everyone from Arendt to Marx and watched all the documentaries that were taglined for social justice. I subscribed to the relevant email bursts, memorized the names of prominent activists and signed online petitions for grassroots initiatives. I patiently awaited the day I could take on a real, serious position in the prevention of human rights abuses, particularly against refugees.

It took me one whole year to realize that there is no such thing as a guidebook to activism: The door was wide open from from the day I put a foot down in the United States, in a community no less ferociously justice-inclined than Berkeley, California.

I wasn’t the only one of my peers who pined for a serious pro-refugee role with a sincerity that would have put puppy dog eyes to shame. In essence, believing that the big jobs are reserved for adults is hammered into us from our first days of school. We are experts of a daily routine of listening and learning in a classroom setting. We have perfected the art of preparing for the future, such as knowing the names of our dream graduate programs and delivering prompt answers to the archaic question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” We are surrounded with simulated versions of the real world, be it internships and costly training programs, model debate or UN and student government.

But with activism: No manicured resume is going to restrict you from recognizing a plain human rights abuse. A carefully plotted life plan is not necessary for you to lead social change. And years of remarkable note-taking, attentiveness and every other skill we rattle off to the adults above us are not essential prerequisites to simply get involved. There is no age too young in a field that relies upon one pure premise: the ability to empathize with other human beings. In other words, we were born ready.

From the day of my realization and onward, as long as there wasn’t a physical barrier to my attendance at a City Council meeting, I was going to be there in solidarity with refugees. As long as I had a phone and a mailbox, I was going to coalition-build with other refugee advocates. It was no longer in my best interest to shadow my older cohorts until the coveted “aha!” moment hit me. It is in the best interest of every young person in the United States to take their future in their hands, right this second.

In the field of human rights, both organizers and the victims we champion don’t have the luxury of letting movements wilt until us youth spot our first gray hairs. At the end of the day, my involvement is not spurred forth by the stout belief that adults are doing it all wrong or that my UC Berkeley education inclines to me toward conspiracy theorizing; it is the belief that democracy and human rights must be owned by every generation.

Now more than ever, as we witness the revocation of resettlement programs for refugees fleeing war, a loss in empathy toward those most vulnerable and the political normalization of a Muslim’s inferiority, the activist movement needs a profound shakeup, the likes of which only youth energy can sustain.

For every fatiguing moment when I want to use my student status as an excuse to defer to an adult and resume a joyful life of click-activism, I am emboldened by the reminder that our elected officials are ultimately bound to represent the will of the people. On that token, to get involved in activism means adding one more spirited voice declaring to our government where we stand on discrimination, exclusion and xenophobia. I never feel more typically American than when I oppose the president’s attack on American values of equality, our history of welcoming refugees and the spirit of warmth that I knew to be a national characteristic when it first embraced me as a foreigner.

In my past three years of organizing, I learned it was possible for student activists to step into a congressperson’s office and articulate their opposition to a blatant violation of human rights, just as routinely they step into the classroom. Activists can change narratives by educating and instructing others, despite not having a degree to that effect. Be it hitting the streets or climbing the Hill, this field is turning into a cross-generational force that speaks to the fact that empowerment is ageless.

It is worth reminding that the celebrated Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, founded in response to the shooting of Trayvon Marvin, was started by a college student. The leaders of the coalition that lobbied our very own university to divest from Wells Fargo for its financing of private prisons last month were students. The organization of the historically unrivaled Women’s March on Washington was staffed with dozens of youth activists.

The past 30 days, which have seen the serious mobilization of America’s youth, is bold evidence to the fact that youth activists are no longer being relegated to poster-making and cookie-selling. Even if you’re not old enough to drink, you can make a difference in this country.

Mariam El Magrissy is a UC Berkeley student. Contact the opinion desk at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter @dailycalopinion.

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  • lovestohike

    Yawn

    Get a job

    Then look at the tax rates

    Then go do something for others

    and then realize that many activists are THE BIGGEST NAZIs in America

    They want people to lock step with them and they support violent protests

    They refuse to accept the constitution

    and this writer Mariam tends to spread fake truths about Muslims,

    All Americans support Muslims.

    Some Americans despise the one small section that beheads people and also bombs villages.

    It appears that Mariam is in love with the harm of others given her generalities
    and her inability to think outside the box.

    Just another arrogant student who has no real experience
    and I had to laugh if this student had any issues with the Berkeley city council
    as they are more lunatic than Mariam might be

    some day Mariam might stop and listen to opposite viewpoints and realize that people are good and there is no right or wrong answer to most issues. its time for her to work together with others and not to be so much in love with the Nazi views Mariam espouses.

  • Kill TalmudScum

    Can someone post the address of this filthy talmud [email protected] Mariam El Maggot?

  • Kill TalmudScum

    I really hope that inbred Talmud garbage like Mariam El Maggot and her entire family of inbred commie anti-White racist pedo garbage are ROUNDED UP AND SYSTEMATICLLY EXTERMINATED.

    YOUR DAYS OF PROMOTING VIOLENCE AGAINST WHITES ARE OVER, MARIAM. YOU BETTER SHUT YOUR FILTHY LITTLE TRAP, [email protected]

  • Kill TalmudScum

    I’d like to have a million hoodies march to end the lives of inbred pedo commie maggot garbage that call themselves “jews” even though they are nothing but SATANIST COMMIE TRASH that killed way more people than Hilter.

  • Kill TalmudScum

    To my African-American readers: THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE WAS 100% OWNED AND OPERATED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE SAME RELIGION AS MARIAM EL MAGGOT.

    http://wethoughttheywerewhite.weebly.com/jews–the-civil-rights-movement.html

  • Kill TalmudScum

    how is the “million hoodie march” different from the KKK? After all, both organizations were founded and funded by the B’nai B’rth.

  • Kill TalmudScum

    There’s a reason Mariam El Maggot doesn’t post a picture of her disgusting, monstrously-distorted face of an inbred Talmud circus freak.

  • Kill TalmudScum

    I would like to see “serious mobilization” of little “antifa’ jew-boys getting their skulls smashed open with tire irons.

  • Kill TalmudScum

    I’d like to become an activist for getting inbred Talmud circus freaks like Mariam El Maggot out of human socieities, and into the Third World toilets that subhuman Talmudic filth like this belongs in.

  • Kill TalmudScum

    I like the way this filthy jewish princess advocates for “immigrants” into White nations. I really hope that Talmudic garbage like this disgusting inbred freak [email protected] are systematically rounded up and sent as “immigrants” back to Khazaria where these dogsht impostors come from.

  • Kill TalmudScum

    stupid fcking cnt, I hope your entire family of inbred commie circus freaks is incinerated,

  • Kill TalmudScum

    “black lives matter” = 100% funded by the subhuman dog excrement that call themselves “jews” though they are just inbred Khazarian impostors, edomite satanist trash.

  • Kill TalmudScum

    Hey MARIAM YOU FAT HERPES INFECTED PIG; GET THE FCK OFF MY LAND YOU INBRED TALMUDIC SLIME-MOLD. GO BACK TO WHERE YOUR INBRED FREAK COMMIE PEDERAST SATANIST PARENTS CAME FROM AND SHUT YOUR ANTI-WHITE PIG MOUTH BEFORE I SHUT IT FOR YOU PERMENANTLY

    NUKE ISRAEL, AND WIPE GARBAGE LIKE MARIAM EL TRASHBAG OFF THE PLANET

    DEFUND ISRAEL NOW
    DEFUND THIS TERRORIST PEDERAST MAFIA FCK HOLE NOW

  • Kill TalmudScum

    “black lives matter’ = anti-White racist violence and terrorism 100% FOUNDED, FUNDED, AND PRODUCED BY THE SUBHUMAN DOG EXCREMENT THAT FOLLOW THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD THAT CALL THEMSELVES “JEWS”, in other words AN ANTI_WHITE BIGOT PIECE OF TRASH LIKE MARIAM EL PIG FACE INSECTOID TALMUD MAGGOT

  • Kill TalmudScum

    We really need to get Talmud-following garbage like Mariam El Whatever out of our schools and institutions, by any means necessary.

    HEY MARIAM – WHY DON”T YOU GO HOME TO PALESTINE, AND BE AN “ACTIVIST” AGAINST THE TALMUDIC CHILD-SEX TRAFFICKING INDUSTRY THERE? WHY DID YOU THINK YOU SHOULD GO TO SOMEONE ELSE’S COUNTRY AND START WHINING AND COMPLAINGIN LIKE THE LITTLE SPOILED JEWISH PRINCESS THAT YOU OBVIOUSLY ARE?

    WHY DON’T YOU SHUT YOUR FAT MOUTH AND TAKE YOUR PEDO SATANIST TALMUD FAT REAR END BACK TO WHERE IT CAME FROM, YOU FAT DISGUSTING COMMIE MAGGOT IDIOT MORON PIG

  • American Freedom

    3021 Rawson St

    Oakland CA 94619-3349

    That is Ian Dabney Miller’s address so if anyone wants to interview a domestic terrorist on how to become anti-American, stop by I’m sure he won’t mind. And to those that will write a negative response to my comment. I’m expressing freedom of speech. Thank you very much.

  • lspanker

    It is worth reminding that the celebrated Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, founded in response to the shooting of Trayvon Marvin, was started by a college student

    Nothing like protesting in a name of a violent thug who physically assaulted a homeowner to ensure that nobody with any common sense wants anything to do with you, You fools are more interested in protest for its own sake than you are in finding out the facts first.

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