Time for activism is NOW

Matt Brown, News Editor

Throughout this ‘extended spring break,’ a mentor of mine has been talking to me a lot about Stoicism. It’s an ancient Greek philosophy centered around decision making. A major tenant of the Stoic philosophy is finding ways to make our obstacles our advantages and focusing on things we can truly control.

Before sophomore year of high school, I was minimally involved. However, like many, after the 2016 election I was full of divergent frustration. My anger was pointed at everyone; people who didn’t vote, the 50%
of white women that voted for the President, Hillary Clinton for poor campaigning, etc. I took to Twitter and mid-hallway debates to voice my anger and ‘advocate,’ but I quickly found that it did nothing. I was putting so much energy into big picture is- sues that I had no control over on my own.

A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to intern for Governor Kate Brown’s re-election campaign. I remember distinctly how excited and anxious I was to make change, but how confused I was when I walked into the office’s basement and saw no “change-making table.” I learned quickly that there is no designated place for change-making or stationary setting where change is made. There has to be an effort and persistence.

For all the service and hours I’ve spent working in my community, I pride myself in never immersing myself for the sole purpose of checking boxes and filling resumes. The time we live in presents an urgency like no other for people my age to step up and get involved, as my generation is ultimately going to be responsible for solving many of the civic issues that we face or facing the consequences.

Through real, persistent and focused involvement, you learn things that they just can’t teach you in the classroom. From registering voters, I learned that people want to use their voice, but just have never been tapped. From knocking on doors for political candidates, I have come face-to-face with everyday people and had conversations about the issues they face and what they need. From starting a student union, I learned that the
youth in our school district has an energy unmatched by anyone else, and it gives me hope for my community for when I’m no longer living here. Community involvement is an education like no other, and the experiences I’ve had have shaped the kind of leader and public servant that I want to be, and I invite you, my fellow angry high schoolers, to try it out.

Right now is the most crucial time to focus your passion, anger and tenacity to service and advocacy. You cannot control a pandemic or poor leadership exacerbating its damage, but you can control how you
react. Save your energy for organizing. Don’t shame others for the ideas they identify with, but rather build inclusive coalitions that guide legislation and pressure action. VOTE. This is an incredible moment to live in, and a persistent force like our youth is going to make the change we need. The obstacle is the way. Now go get ‘em, Wolves.