On the 18th of November 2016, Sarah Kendzior implored her fellow Americans to “write about who you are, what you have experienced, and what you have endured”. What follows is a condensed, public-friendly version of my continuing attempts to honour the imperatives.
Write down what you value; what standards you hold for yourself and for others:
I value fairness, vision, and vitality. I try to be kind, curious, tolerant, and honest, and I try to empower others be the same.
Write about your dreams for the future and your hopes for your children:
I dream for a courageous future, where the braindead megaphones have long since fallen silent, and the birds don’t have to scream to be heard.
Write about the struggle of your ancestors and how the hardship they overcame shaped the person you are today:
My ancestors suffered and inflicted colonial atrocities. With little more than their words and their hands some acquiesced and some resisted. Their stories teach me that nothing is determinate, that there are always choices, that education can help you make the right ones – whether for the good of the self or the good of others. Even both.
Write a list of things you would never do. Because it is possible that in the next year, you will do them:
I will never underestimate greed. I will never consider a human being as anything less (or more). I will not stop calling out lies.
Write a list of things you would never believe. Because it is possible that in the next year, you will either believe them or be forced to say you believe them:
I will not believe in (false) equivalence, that there are always two equal sides – some things people say are just incorrect; some things they do are just plain wrong.