What’s the purpose of having a platform if you don’t use it?
I can only speak from my experience, but as a brown girl who grew up in Virginia only hours away from where the Charlottesville incident occurred, my entire existence is political. I don’t shy away from tough topics, I speak out on injustice, and I could never be silent on subjects that matter because of the material side effects. If a brand doesn’t want to work with me because of my opinion, I wouldn’t want to work with them. If I lose out on an invite to some event because I’m too outspoken so be it.
My experience as a brown and black woman has opened my eyes to various conditions of the human experience and to my own privilege. Growing up I was never without, I had the opportunity to go to college, to move across the country to follow my dreams. I know that the life I’ve lived is not accessible to everyone. Growing up I heard stories of family and family friends who came into this country illegally from Central America to find a better life. I knew how hard they worked for everything they had. I remember suppressing my cultural identity to make others feel more comfortable growing up in suburbia only to see those same things I suppressed later as “trendy” and “cool” by the same people I tried to make feel comfortable. I’ve been discriminated against because of the color of my skin. But at the end of the day, the things that make you different deserve celebration. If dressing a certain way and wearing certain things make people “uncomfortable” so be it. We should not live in fear. We shouldn’t fear for our lives running to the store in a black hoodie. We shouldn’t fear for our jobs for taking a knee to the systemic racial injustice in this country. We shouldn’t fear being “blacklisted” for speaking against the mistreatment and misjudgments of others in a society deeply rooted in white supremacy. Just because you may never have had to experience this first hand does not mean this experience isn’t the reality for many others. It’s okay to have privilege. It’s okay to be privileged. Recognizing where your privilege falls on the spectrum and using your position for good is exactly what we need right now. What’s happening in America is not just a Latino problem, or a Black problem, or a Muslim problem. It’s a human problem and nothing will happen unless people of all backgrounds come together and say enough is enough. Love is nice, but action gets things done.
At the end of the day we all have to realize that we are all a part of the problem. Accepting this and actively working to deprogram yourself, to question things, to essentially put yourself in others shoes is to awaken your self.
Although we’ve been raised in a capitalistic society that reinforces an every man for themselves mentality I leave you with this. Why wouldn’t you want your neighbor to be able to afford healthcare? Why wouldn’t you want your neighbor to live a life free of discrimination against the color of their skin, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, ability, etc? Why wouldn’t you want your hard working neighbor to have a chance at becoming a citizen in this country? Stand up and fight for people who may not have the privilege to do so, because in the end you would want someone to stand up for you.
Tee: Melody Ehsani
Shoes: Fenty x Puma