To our Young Protestors, to our students, our teenagers, our tweens, our beautiful, brilliant, and loud social justice soldiers…to those who the world deems “young,” but know in your youth lives knowledge:
Thank you. Thank you for reaffirming my faith that despite the threat of a daunting wall designed out of darkness, you shine a beacon of light that illuminates the truth. I have a sense of hope that tomorrow will be a better day because of each of you. Because as I see the photographs flooding my Instagram, because as I tap through the snaps I hear your cries, your voices, my ears are filled with the grito of the generation that will lead. I feel promise in your resistance and the conversation you’ve ignited. You understand. You know the vocabulary, you speak the language of power, and you tell it in a way no will ever know because you live it.
Sexism, racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, homophobia, and hate are what the world has given so many of you, and your response comes in solidarity with love at the foundation of moving forward toward the tolerance you demand.
I am sorry generations before you have failed you, have begun to critique, criticize and hate what is most needed in each of you. They have mocked your anger, belittled your angst, judged your marches, but be assured their reaction gives so much more validity to your action. Your voice is your power and no one has the rights to deny the agency you each carry. I am sorry as products of a corrupt system many have become so disillusioned, lost their fire, and have lost sight of building something better for you with their inaction. Your very action is what leads social movements; our most critical moments that have transformed our history are triggered by social unjust and the voices of the courageous to speak until heard as each of you are doing now.
No you cannot vote, but can you mobilize. You can be heard. You can demand the attention so many of have chosen to walk away from. While they negotiate, you make your demands, as our sister Assata Shakur reminds us, “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.”
Never lose your fire. Never be silent. Read, listen, watch and study the systems because they are the shambles you will soon repair. With your audacious hope and revolutionary love built on a solid foundation of education, culture, and knowledge you are unstoppable.
In unshakable solidarity and gratitude for all that you represent…
Your biggest fan,
Dr. Carissa A. Purnell
PS: To all the adult haters and adultism practitioners of the world, Angela Davis said, “you can never stop and as older people, we have to learn how to take leadership from the youth…” and when we lace them up with the tools they need to think critically, learn, and love we ourselves are committed to cause of justice…
Vas aver… they got it on lock…