New Voices

Wake Up, Show Up, Repeat
Heyra Avila

Change is inevitable, unstoppable, it can be good or bad and sometimes painfully transformative. While things sometimes seemingly get worse, change becomes necessary. We have arrived to this painful era of necessary change when it comes to radically standing up for what we believe in. The new changemakers have risen, and it is the youth.

The youth, more than anyone before, have access to a myriad of information at the click of a button. The knowledge we need to actively protest is out there. It’s near and easy to access. We have the world virtually at our fingertips. Having this immediate access to information has made being unaware a political choice. A new awakened generation arose and social media has assisted that. The way that social media has influenced the political process allows for a more engaged public. It is nearly effortless to share information, news, support, etc. Once that knowledge reaches our fingertips it becomes absorbed then translated into actions.

Our new state of being awake, or aware, allows us to then share it with others. It’s a process that happens before even showing up to a protest. Before going to marches, rallies, or protests, we tweet it, Instagram it, put it on Snapchat, share it on Facebook, and also repost or share the posts of others going. We follow accounts on social media that are constantly posting information or messages that are easy to repost. That means we can constantly be in the know for the next events or current happenings. 

The protest doesn’t stop at the physical location it is being held at either. You can’t just show up and expect that to be it. Showing up has become the bare minimum. We have to be knowledgeable and grounded first. The change we’re fighting for won’t happen when we show up or because we show up. It means that we actually have to know why we’re there and committing ourselves to taking adequate action afterwards. Solidarity is much more than being physically present at the protest site. It means being there fully conscience, aware, and awake, knowing that it’s only one step of many more.

In my 10 years of organizing, or leading marches and protests I can say it is definitely more talked about and accepted now. I would even dare to say it has become popular. More people are now involved with what happens before and after protests. It’s also a beautiful thing to see more youth involved because ultimately we are the ones that will be affected by what happens, or fails to happen.

Showing up is more than taking pictures with political t-shirts, liking, reposting, sharing, information. Yes, all those things are a part of it. It engages our followers, friends, and family alike. It offers different points of views on some topics that we wouldn’t get exposed to other wise. However, we are responsible and hold each other accountable for much more than that.

This new era of technological connectedness with other humans has awakened a generation that has become unrest, but for good reasons. Our interconnectedness transcends time zones, physical locations and phone screens. It manifests itself through new voices, continued actions, and demands for a more engaged community and ultimately, hopefully, a less oppressed humanity. This interconnectedness allows ourselves to be awakened to the truths, to show up when necessary, and to repeat until the ultimate goals are achieved.