I recently completed an assignment in my Women's Activism and Social Change class that I'd like to share with World Pulse. It was a very intimate assignment and my only direction was, respond to the word Revolution and what it means to me...
When I hear the word revolution I think of the transformation I have made over the last 9 years concerning my education and personal aspirations. My junior year of high school marked the starting point for the revolution that began inside of me. After taking a United States Women’s History class I was surprised and upset to learn of all the amazing and courageous women I had never heard about that greatly contributed to my acquired status as an academic scholar. I then began asking myself the questions, “What else have I never learned about? Who else? What has public education and other various institutions kept hidden away from me?” I began to question and analyze everything I had ever been taught in school.
Two years later, as a freshman in college I took Women’s Studies 101. It was from that point on that I wasn’t straddling the lines of the inner war that had begun inside of me, but I decided to march full force to the front lines. I no longer wanted to stand idly by and watch marginalized groups be oppressed, degraded, and abused. I felt that once I had learned the truth about patriarchy, colonialism, sexism, and all the other numerous systems of oppression, I couldn’t just ignore what I had learned. It’s very true that “ignorance is bliss”, but I believe more that “education is power”. Being a pacifist most of my life, I felt this was one war I had to take part in and I knew very well that I would be fighting in it for the rest of my life.
Soon after enlisting in the war against patriarchy, I quickly learned and began mastering the weapon of speech. I would talk to anybody and everybody about what I was learning in school. I told my father that I finally understood why he was so angry at the government and the education system that abused him as a young boy for speaking his native language. I talked to my mother about her choice to become an elementary teacher and why she felt at 20 years old her only other career options were nursing or administrative assistant. I talked to my best friend about body image and the male gaze and we passionately discussed the unrealistic body images the media portrays and how we seldom see non-white, fat or curvy women in leading roles on movies or television. I talked with my Marine brother about the sexual violence epidemic that has spread throughout the military and the sexist bias that most men carry concerning women being on the “front lines”. Finally, I started having dialogues with myself and started to recognize all the varies way I have privilege in my life and how I have contributed to this horrific war that has been going on for centuries and has claimed millions of lives in the process.
Now, just like any other war in history, there have been multiple casualties I’ve had to witness since I joined the fight. I’ve lost friendships with people who disagreed with me concerning the issues at hand. I’ve created distance between myself and individuals who believe indifference is a better strategy than my tactic of blatant action. I’ve also had to defend myself and my position numerous times against loved ones which slowly chips away at very important relationships in my life. But there also have been varies victories since I’ve joined the war. I’ve been able to meet others who are equally passionate about the cause for change and create alliances with other groups to build a stronger coalition. I’ve met individuals whose lives have been affected and changed for the better because of the work that is being done on their behalf. I’ve witnessed myself grow and change as an individual, a scholar, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and an activist.
It was because of one single incident in my life, taking an elective history class that I found my true calling. It released a passion for change that I had never known existed inside of me. One class sparked the flame inside me to join the fight for social, political, legal, and economical justice for all humankind. One class sparked the beginning of my revolution.