I remember voting in the 2016 election. I was only 18, a first-time voter, excited to get out and participate in the larger society in a way I had been taught could produce change.
As I voted this year, I reflected on my naive younger self. I had yet to learn that no matter how much change I hoped to produce by voting, I could do more by getting involved and supporting my community directly.
Everyone dismisses Gen Z because most of us have the “we have to save the world” mentality, but with climate change threatening our future and white supremacy threatening our present, how could we not?
When we think of all that we have endured this year, when we think of all that has been endured since the origins of this country — the general distrust a lot of us have for this country’s government, law enforcement and politicians is completely understandable. Every four years, we are forced to choose the lesser of two evils, knowing that no matter who we choose, this country will continue to benefit from white supremacy, capitalism and colonialism.
For those of us who are tired of voting for the lesser of two evils, I implore you to understand that voting is only a start to political engagement, not the end. There is so much you can do by getting involved in your community to create material change for the people around you. I may have lost hope that our government can change, but I will always have faith in the power of the people, especially when we organize our collective power on a local level.
I joined Feminist Fight Club in 2019, only a semester into its creation, to be a better community member, to find my role in organizing my community. Since joining Feminist Fight Club, I have learned what I can contribute to my community and how I can liberate myself and others.
Community organizers everywhere work within the limbo of distrust, knowing that we are going to be the ones to save each other. Organizers not only fight against systems of oppression, but we also fight to provide the community with the resources we were not given. There are organizers here at Cal Poly Pomona doing just that.
Though most of us are exhausted enough from simply surviving a global pandemic, going to school and living our lives — those of us who can’t shake the “we have to save the world” mentality are also fighting for justice on and off campus.
Feminist Fight Club was created to fight for reproductive justice for the CPP community. We have been working to convince the administration to apply for the Family Planning Access Care and Treatment Program, which would bring a wider range of birth control options to campus as well as offer some for free.
As intersectional feminists, we have been supporting other organizations like Students for Quality Education and demands to defund campus police with its No Harm Disarm initiative. The work of organizations like Feminist Fight Club and Students for Quality Education will continue despite whoever wins the clown race every four years.
These are just two examples of student-led organizations working to support the community. Now, I’m not insisting you join or even support these organizations, but I hope to encourage those of you who also can’t shake the “we have to save the world” mentality to get involved with your community, whether that be on or off campus.
If voting is the first step, then the next step is finding out what your role in our collective liberation is. We took the first step, and I have faith in our ability to take the next.
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