We live in a system of oppression. A system that we can easily forget when it does not directly affect us. A system inundated with racism, sexism, ageism, and much more -isms. A system where police can take away the right for us to live freely. Recently, the death of several Black lives, including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, have brought forth the pervasiveness of racism in this country, reminding us once again that we have a long way to go for equity and justice. Under the magnitude of these injustices, it is easy to feel defeated and helpless. With these recent events, people are urged to take action, and it can feel overwhelming. So where do we start?
We can start with one small step. It begins with the realization that this is an issue that will take centuries to overcome, but a small step in the right direction can make a difference. Oppression is like a massive boulder in front of us; it is intimidating, and we can’t face it by ourselves. However, if we chip at it little by little with others helping us, it can become less daunting. Over time, the boulder will reduce to rubble, like the fight against this system. A small step can mean picking up a book and educating ourselves; it can mean donating to organizations that are fighting against these issues or confronting our biases and prejudice.
After taking these small steps, we must not stop there. We have to push ourselves further to engage and advocate for inclusive practices. We have to be willing to teach others and speak up when people are making disparaging comments. Let us all strive to be the person who brings attention to problematic institutional practices and work to resolve them. Change begins at the stage of being uncomfortable, and we have to shift away from our comfort to change ourselves and this world.
To quote Lilla Watson, “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” It reminds me that the work to dismantle an oppressive system requires action from everyone. It is not just up to marginalized communities to fight these injustices. Whether we feel it or not, this system affects us all. If you are in a position of privilege, don’t just be an ally to the cause, but have the mindset that we all have a part to play in this fight. The world needs everyone involved to take action for equity and justice, so I implore everyone to take a small step today.