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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Rage, rage against the dying of the light — A message to activists

It has been a hard week, that much is evident. On an international, national and local scale, there’s been so much fear, hate and uncertainty. Some of you, dear readers, want to fight back, but it feels like you are yelling into a vast, empty canyon, your voices resonating loud and clear but eventually disappearing into the air, drowned out by the wind. Some of you are tired. Perhaps you fought once, perhaps you kicked and roared and screamed, perhaps your voices, too, were lost to the wind. And some of you carry on, unaware, unconcerned, because this fight isn’t yours, this battle is one you kind of wanted to win in the first place — though you won’t admit that now as the discontent grows.

If you’re in that latter group of people, this message isn’t for you. That’s for another time.

Right now, we’re talking to those who have been fighting, those who are scared and hurt, who know that even after the big marches are done, after people put away their signs and their hats, after something else captures the media’s attention, they still have a long way to go. We’re talking to those who feel like they cannot take a break, who feel like if they don’t continue to march and continue to fight, the world is going to forget them for next week’s shocking headline.

It’s a hard time, when you feel so encompassed with rage and hurt, yet the scope of it all is just so big.

You have posted long statuses on social media. You have called your senators, signed petitions and donated money to organizations. You have marched, you have protested, you have shown up to a rainy street corner with a sign, hoping to make a difference, but watched people pass by barely looking your way.

To those people who have fought, who fight, who will continue to do so, we thank you.

We know it’s hard. We know that the odds seem insurmountable right now. We know that it seems like the whole world wants to ignore you. And that’s just why we need you — reminding the world that yes, you are here; yes, you are still here; yes, you will keep on.

We need you fighters to, in the words of Dylan Thomas, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” because though the world seems dark, there is still a fight within you all.

The battle is hard and it is long. That’s why we want to remind you that it’s OK to take a break. That sometimes, the world is overwhelming, and even though you try your hardest to fight against the bad, sometimes you need to step back, let others fight for a moment, while you take care of yourself. It may make you feel guilty. Sometimes when the whole world is hurt and scared and angry, a moment of personal happiness seems selfish. But you are allowed to take that moment. You are allowed to be happy. You are allowed to remember the goodness in the world you are fighting for. If anything, it will make you stronger as you stand back up and march forward.

Because there are good things in this world to enjoy, good things to protect. Reminding yourself of that helps you remember just why you are fighting, helps keep you strong, helps move you forward.

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