Letting the Movement Down Easy

I don’t know how to say this properly so I won’t even try: I’m done with the #USChangeMovement. No one did anything wrong and there is nothing wrong with me. The time has finally come for me to move on.

I initially thought that I would be able to handle a full-time job, a graduate writing program, a social movement and a blog—because Superwoman must exist—but I was terribly wrong. For a while, I managed to play the part. I would leave work, jet across campus to the DPS Office, rush to print my homework assignment before CBCSA closed, and then speed walk to class and pretend I had it all together.

On a typical day, I arrived on campus by 9am and didn’t leave until after 10pm. I minimized the seriousness of my skipped meals, lack of sleep, and non-existent workout regimen with one-liner mantras: This is what it takes. At least you don’t have it as bad as they did in the 60s. Somebody’s gotta do it.

To an extent, I was right. Somebody does have to dedicate their life to the cause so that our children can live in peace. And many more people will have to die before true freedom can be realized on earth, if that’s even a possibility. But jeopardizing one’s physical, emotional, and mental health is not synonymous with being down for the cause. By slowly self-destructing, I did the movement a great disservice.

To my credit, I never asked (or wanted) to lead a social movement. I simply wrote a blog post and couldn’t have imagined that it would spark the flame that it did. In all honesty, if I had known that my words would have such an effect, I wouldn’t have written them. Thankfully, God didn’t reveal His plans prematurely, but the fact remains that I got involved out of obligation—passionate obligation, but obligation nonetheless.

I wish I had a fancy line to describe how difficult it was to go from being a relatively unknown blogger to a front-page social activist. It was 100x more unsettling than it sounds. I say this not to make excuses for my mistakes—I know that I’ve made many—but to attempt to explain why I’ve been such an inefficient leader.

Since this all began, I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to let the movement down easy. I finally realize that there will never be a time conducive to change and personal growth. Waiting for the “right time” would require me to keep going and I simply can’t afford to.

I have already dedicated my life to “the cause” and that will never change. The medium through which I do this work, however, is to be determined by God and God alone, not peer pressure or my own limited understanding of what a true pursuit of justice looks like.

I met with DPS & LAPD over the summer, started the USChange student org, and did what I could to keep the movement alive because I felt like I had to. Now that the groundwork has been laid, it’s up to you (yes, you) to capitalize on the momentum. This is not, nor has it ever been, my movement. It started as a collective effort and in order to succeed, it must persist as such.

Although I’ve spent the last six months unsuccessfully negotiating with the powers that be, I can’t deem this season of my life a total waste of time. I’ve spent the last six months discovering who I am, and most importantly, who I am not. I am not a community organizer. I am not a social activist. I am a writer. These distinctions are destined to blur, but in order to maximize my effectiveness, I need to stay in my lane and do what I do best.

3 responses to “Letting the Movement Down Easy

  1. I’d argue that you’re a community-organizer-activist writer. All of those identities can exist simultaneously, and already show in the writing/work that you do. Choosing to put your efforts into your written words and stepping away from the meetings, doesn’t mean that you’re not still not part of that good work and the movement/s for change.

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