Grapevine on fire

Because the Internet

To all the people who think we aren’t doing enough, let me tell you something: You’re right.

In fear, in shock, in utter and complete disbelief of realizing what our judicial system is capable of in the last 24 hours, I write as a voice among the clamor of millions that shout for change.

America, we’re doing something wrong.

Technology, they say, is both a blessing and a curse. If you’ve kept up with my blog at all — which is indeed a loose tribute to Gambino — you know that I tend to advocate distancing oneself from the pomegranate seeds of technology. In my previous opinion, it was never bad to take a step back, to remember what life was like before the infiltration of pixels into even the very edges of our peripherals.

But today, I write to thank the universe for its gift of rapid speed cable connections, of speed of light transmissions, of giving us a means of knowing what is happening in every part of the world this very moment.

For there is so much wrong here I cannot even begin to fathom. There is so much wrong here that I might have never known if I did not have a Facebook, if I did not see “Breaking News” headlines, if I did not search the hash tags #fightthehike or #blacklivesmatter. Tonight, a spectrum of emotions has lit an iridescent rainbow across the universe; a search for peace and for easy cooperation with a government that cannot be reckoned with has our campus — and now the rest of the world — letting out pleas for reform. We beg for change, our battle cries a poor mask for our actual reedy voices, tired of continually asking for help. But now, at least, we may find solace in those around us that feel just as helpless.

For whether it be for Wheeler or for Ferguson, Missouri, word of protests has caught like wildfire, igniting the various brambles of Facebook’s infamous newsfeed. There are events, groups, chats and networks; there are a million ways to learn of opportunities to participate. People who earlier may have never been able to find others with similar political views can rejoice in joining discussions through the simple search of a hashtag. We are encouraged, now more than ever, to be active, to take part — to have a voice and let it be heard.

I have never been so goddamn grateful.

The constellation of webbed branches that comprise what we know as Twitter is shamelessly ablaze. The Internet is, at least for the while, a blinding inferno of rapid-fire conversation. People are consorting, are consoling, are collaborating. They are finding a way to fight back what they know to be wrong. The numbers in Wheeler may be dwindling, but did you see how far back the crowd extended during yesterday’s walk out? A decision may have been reached in Ferguson, but have you seen the reactions of people across our nation? Of people around the world? We have created an unstoppable, bulletproof grapevine, too adept at passing along messages for anyone to censor.

So, thank god for the Internet.

We have luxuries never before imagined at our mere fingertips. Solidarity can be found while texting in class, with friends on the other side of the country over Google Chat, through the postings of a political Facebook group. There is such power in the single click of an iPhone camera shutter on a street in Ferguson, in the click-clack of a keyboard as an online petition to the UC Board of Regents is filled out, in the glow of a new text message updating you on news that has just broken somewhere, anywhere.

We have been broken. Our taut, previously impenetrable skin has been stretched so tightly that it has finally cracked. Anger seeps through the fissures that now gash our pores. The people are angry. The students are angry. We are angry. And thanks to the very computer I currently type on, we have more chances than ever before of being heard.

There is power in numbers and, today, technology has brought us together in a way I could have never imagined before. We can stand as one and unite against any force we so choose.

How Atlas alone managed to carry the burden of the world on his back, I will never know. For I am lucky enough to have a community for each of my activist passions I can join hands with somehow, somewhere, even if it is because of the Internet.

We aren’t doing enough, and until we are, I will be eternally grateful for the immense virtual network I have been fortunate enough to receive in this lifetime. We aren’t doing enough, and — until we are — we’ll let this grapevine burn.

Eda Yu writes the Tuesday blog on the day-to-day life effects of technology. You can contact her at [email protected].