There is a method to student activism that respectfully supports the cause. For example, this year there has been a call for justice for members of the African American community who nationwide have been slain by members of our law enforcement. I took part in rallies at my campus that demanded justice for not only the slain, but also for apparent and insidious racism shown towards students of color by professors and administrators. As a Latinx member, I knew my place and followed the lead of members of our African American community. I took up their call but I followed their footsteps, listened when they spoke, and yielded the floor whenever I could because I understood that they were suffering much more that I was and it was injustices against them that we were fighting against. To partake effectively and respectfully in this type of activism, one must follow the lead of the group who you are rallying for.
Although many of the injustices we are currently seeing involve violence, in order to safely and respectfully pursue student activism, we must not lower ourselves to such violence. History shows us that violence only leads to more bloodshed. Peaceful protest has freed nations and that’s the path student activists take. Safe and violence free activism not only protects individual students but all activists as a whole.
Lastly, one often hears the words “self-care” but they are rarely practiced enough. Activism can be an integral part of your life, but you are a student first and foremost. There is nothing wrong with putting academics first or activism, but you must do so at your own discretion. Only you know how much of your life and time you can healthily give up for either. There is nothing wrong with missing a class for a rally or missing a rally for a class. No one can tell you how to be a perfect activist; you are the only one who knows your limits so listen to your inner voice and take care of yourself.
-- Katherine Jimenez