the odds are against us;

the odds are against us;

it’s been nearly two years of near-constant fear,

just under a month since a heartbreaking choice.

we’re two degrees celsius from an ice-free arctic sea, and

on our way to silencing 1.4 million more voices.

each day takes a bravery unbeknownst to before,

every inaction adds to the core of our apathy,

which prevents us from seeing what’s right outside of our doors.

what they don’t understand—everything is connected,

when one group is neglected, another protects it.

a community grieves, but we will never leave.

if we truly believe in the power of each other,

and include everyone in the us, not the other,

showing up can get another elected.

we need to stick together and take care of everyone,

focus rather than fear, discuss not distrust,

share in despair, vote, lift up, and be fair.

hope is resistance when the odds are against us.

the past weeks may have been dismal, and the future’s not bright, but

in spite of it all we’re bonded in hope,

and we’ll fight.

• • •

We’ve been gone for so long that this is only a shout into the void. I hope you can hear it.

dear white people;

dear white people;

just as it is not our fault

that we are brown, yellow, black, or anything in between,

it is not your fault that your skin

is a reminder of years

of taking our lives,

taking our worlds,

and making them yours.

 

just as it is not our fault

that our skin tells policemen that we are ‘trouble’,

civilians that we are ‘danger’,

and society that we are ‘problems’,

it is not your fault that your skin

tells us that you are given much more.

 

and we get that it’s difficult

to walk the streets knowing that

so much of the world uses your skin

as a window to your soul.

we get that “ugh, white people”

and disgusted eye rolls

hurt.

 

believe me, we understand.

 

you wear a label

just as the rest of us do,

but while ours tells the world

of our “oppression and weakness”,

your “fault” is your strength.

 

of course, i’m generalizing, but

you can still tell your stories,

and that in itself

is more than the other colours can do.

 

dear white people;

it’s rough being white.

and brown.

and black.

and yellow.

and anything in between.

we learned this a long time ago.

 

but when you–

and please can you–

continue to learn,

recognize,

and do the work?

the power of your skin

can become something that begins

to make a change.

• • •

We pledge to understand our own privilege and to help provide a voice for those who are not given as much as we are. We have noticed on social media that many white people are discredited or invalidated just because they are white, similarly to how society always has treated people of colour differently because of their skin. We pledge to see the humanity in people regardless of their skin colours, as well as to always recognize systematic oppression and other forms of injustice.

because i can;

because i can;

i have decided

to do things

because i can.

i can watch netflix and stay in bed,

true,

but i can also go outside

and listen to music

and stop and smell the flowers.

i can skip rope

or skip class

if today, i will allow myself to take a breath.

i can drink a smoothie,

or perhaps a lemonade.

i can feel rain on my skin

or name a caterpillar.

(their name is wednesday)

i can connect,

and feel beautiful,

and get hurt,

and grow.

 

but,

 

i can also fight.

and make mistakes.

 

i can listen

and see

with my ears and eyes,

but forget to listen

and see

without them.

 

i can ask for help,

and only get it once or twice,

and i can keep asking

because i’m doing something for me.

 

i can be tired

and i can be awake.

 

i can be cheerful

or cry myself to sleep

and that’s okay.

 

i am letting myself

do things

because i can.

at the end of the day;

at the end of the day;

she wrote a poem and called it change.

about people who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, stop our pain.

she wrote about the danger that comes with making things fair,

about how if we’d just dare to stop speaking in ‘ums’ and start ending warfare,

that the number of people lending a hand would become so much less rare.

instead of rendering teenagers into something that impairs, #teenvoices could be trending—

young people making waves, mending barriers, helping, defending.

yet of course, it’s true that people often do think change is too new.

it’s true that our stark reality

(of extinct species, and rising seas, and rising fees; more shut and locked doors than keys)

isn’t something to be pleased about, but please, listen to her, and accept this reality.

as she’s said before, we need more and more:

more voices, more caring, more hope, and more sharing.

this girl might be young, she might not be the same as you,

in fact, she might not even share the same view as you.

but at the end of the day, what really matters?

not who donated the most money, showed the most sympathy,

not who’s the least likely to give in and to boast, to presume and—

no, what matters is that we’re all human.

• • •

To be quite frank, making change is hard. Life happens, there are ups and downs, and we can’t control others. Nevertheless, I’ve learned that we do have some small bit of control over what happens to us as a collective. I’m determined to use that power to the extent that I can, no matter what the danger, the apathy, the naysayers, or the predicted, bleak future. Please join me in this. After all, we’re all human, and all deserve an equitable, just, and healthy world.

lucky;

“hesitant to say lucky

because it took pure hard work to get here,”

 

but you were born in a country

where war was only what John Lennon faced,

and your culture was validated

and your dreams could be chased,

and you were given the opportunity

to not be erased.

 

and you battled your hardships,

and it wasn’t perfect

but people around you

told you you were worth it.

 

                   you were strong.

 

and you did wake up

and you did brush your teeth

and you went to school

and went back to sleep

 

and this isn’t me saying

that you didn’t work hard,

that you aren’t worth the fame

or that you haven’t come far,

 

but let’s be honest.

 

a child like you

in a world like yours.

 

luck has a lot to do with it.

• • •

We recognize that life is a difficult journey to navigate, but we pledge to recognize that we are privileged and lucky to have a voice, to have access to an education, and to have our survival needs met. We recognize that we, as immigrants, have collectively wronged Indigenous peoples in the past, and we pledge to respect them and their land as much as we know how to. Finally, join us in pledging that we will use our privilege to do something good, whether that is standing up for what we know is right, making somebody else smile, working to become our best selves, or something else.