A Letter To The Activists Who Came Before Me

Twenty20 / @spacehalide

I know you might feel moved when you see me, hopeful maybe. Your knees are starting to ache, you don’t think you could protest down another block, so you turn around and put your posters in the car. As you drive away, you look into the crowd and see a bunch of kids my age and suddenly you feel at ease knowing that we are picking up the fight where you left off.

But I nor my friends would be here if It wasn’t for you.

I was walking to my lunch break the other day when I saw a white man in his 70s holding a poster that read “Protect our courts.” This week has been emotionally exhausting for a lot of us and seeing him standing there in the cold made my heart ache a little less. Then I noticed he was not alone. In fact, he was marching with a group of about 50 other people, he had just fallen a little behind. So, I asked If I could join him. Together we walked down a few blocks. Suddenly, I was transfixed in the moment. I realized that I might be walking next to a man who might have been an advocate during the civil rights era. I pictured myself walking alongside him on the same street 50 years ago. It was my honor to have shared those minutes with him. I regret not telling him that he was my hero.

As we reached the doorsteps of the representative’s office, I looked around me and saw more people his age. Their shoulders sunk, and their eyes filled with fury as they denounced Kavanaugh’s nomination. My heart shattered looking at them. These people have already seen this play out. They have already fought their battles against injustice and inequality. I wish I could tell them to go home to rest and that the world they worked so hard for us to have is becoming a reality. But I can’t.

Instead, I want them to know this.

To those of you who were active in the civil rights movement, thank you.

To those who risked so much to fight against prejudice and racism, thank you.

To those women who lied to their fathers or husbands about sneaking out to plan women’s marches, thank you.

To all of you who stood up way before my time, your work has not gone in vain.

We learn from you. All of this is because of you.

You taught us how to mobilize the multitudes and change the hearts and minds of an entire country.

I am out here taking baby steps for change, but you guys took leaps.

You were the masterminds behind the labor and hunger strikes.

I am able to do and say things today, you wouldn’t think were possible back then.

At times, I take for granted the rights you demanded for me.

My children might also take for granted the battles I fought for in my time and I hope they do because then I know that my activism paid off. But when they look at pictures of your generation in the history books, I will tell them I had the honor of meeting some people from that time.

When they ask why those people were dressed so funny, I will tell them because they invented sex, drugs and rock and roll and they still grew up to be fine people.

Okay, I’ll leave out the sex and the drug part, but they sure did have some amazing music.

Those outcast teenagers and crazy feminists are my patriots and my American heroes.

Love,

Ximena

A woman told me the following during the Kavanaugh, protest In Denver, Colorado on September 28th, 2018:

“Think of me when Clarence Thomas is gone. If you are alive when Brett Kavanaugh is no longer around, remember me,” – Unknown Protester

I don’t know what your name is and I probably will never see you again. But I promise to always remember you. TC mark

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