• Chelsea Rustrum

Now is the Time to Be an Activist

Updated: Feb 21

We’ve entered a new season.

This is the time to put your phones away. Interrupt your transfixed glaze. Step away from your laptop. Move away from your office. Reconsider your job. Rethink your income. And do something. Anything. In the real world. Stop social sharing, checking in, and reading, or even writing articles about what could be. Start creating, designing, protesting, policy making, activating your physical and mental capacity as a human.

Optimism doesn’t serve anyone if the results are the same. Spirituality is insignificant if people are being maimed, killed, and nature is being destroyed right in front of us. Philosophies are moot when fascism is on the rise. Political leanings are irrelevant when our representatives lean mostly to the right, regardless of their stated label.

Now is the time to be an activist!

While I’d like to believe we live in a free country — we increasingly don’t. Movements don’t die because their touted ideology loses gusto. They cease because people are threatened, assassinated, and psychologically tortured into submission.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at how the economic revolution of the 60s, the Black Panther movement of the 70s, or the Arab Spring and Occupy encampments of the 2000s were systematically dismantled. Escalating violence. The military industrial complex. An economy that relies on compliance.

We’re all in danger. Our oceans are acidic and dead in 30 years. Democracy is a facade. Genocide founded this country. And we continue to treat anyone who “doesn’t belong” with institutional poverty and/or mass incarceration.

Software isn’t going to solve this. We need to wake the fuck up. My generation mistakenly believes that we can do whatever we want and that this is the most free country in the world. Further, that our impact can come in the form of socialized volunteering, by serving meals to the homeless, or designing software or elaborate marketing campaigns that will unite everyone. This is the biggest lie we’ve ever believed.

And a PSA: Elon Musk isn’t going to save us. Technology may make things better in the short run, but our problems, mostly self inflicted, don’t have an antidote that goes by the name of technology. Believing this dogma is like believing the tooth fairy exists, simply because you want the payoff.

We’ve fallen asleep. And in the dream of our waking, we fool-heartedly believe that the latest app we’re developing or the way we compost is making a difference. Just because you pickle your own homegrown tomatoes doesn’t make you a conscientious citizen.

We need to redefine the American Dream in the modern era.

We don’t care about cars and big houses anymore, but what do we care about?

What are we united on?

This is where you come in.

We need to learn how the process works. We need to write policy. We need to vote. We need to lead. We need to storm the streets, if we have to. We need to stand by our indigenous brothers and sisters. We need to stand up for not so distant future generations right to clean water and air. We need to figure out a way to be more inclusive and economically equal before our society is run by several behemoth companies, which run a machine monopoly, instrumentally replacing government.

Times are messy.

Every bone in my body and beat in my heart tells me that now is the time to organize, to protest, to activate, to learn, to fight, to pray, to align, to collectivize, to be in motion — to be seen, to be heard, to be an unstoppable force.

Do you feel the same call?

To start, we need to be aligned. What values would inspire you to participate?
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