Being Different Kickstarted My Activism
In seventh grade I made myself a pink and white beaded bracelet with hearts that read “FEMINIST” in block letters. I saw feminist mantras painted in pastels all over Tumblr and decided that I needed to be involved in this culture too—probably the most lame, embarrassing reason for getting into feminism, and eventually activism, ever. But it’s an honest one. Eventually, the pastels turned into protests as I began to find my concrete beliefs.
My route to activism definitely had a catalyst: living in the VERY red state of Texas and dealing with a difficult freshman year, full of harsh encounters with people whose opinions were different than mine. I even got a “kill yourself.” Despite the hard year, it made me care, and it made me want to do something.
Despite the naïve beginnings of my activism path, I've become a person who truly cares and strives to make a difference. I have become the girl who loses friends over speaking out about controversial issues; a girl who cares so much it hurts. A girl who understands her role as a white, privileged teenage girl, but understands that it is her duty to actively combat prejudices and bigotry. A girl who wants to use every molecule of my brain and heart to make a difference through my words and actions.
It has taken me so long to understand the weapon that my voice is, and I want to help others get to this place as well. That is the specific activism I want to lend myself to: How your voice can change how you see yourself, others, and the world. How your voice wields more power than you can imagine. Most importantly, how your voice possesses the power to change lives.
I have always wanted to share my voice, especially through writing. I’m attached to this notion that words can be one of the only things that are truly your own. Words are so beautiful and so our own. So I decided to start my own publication called the ABOUT paper. I’m creating a platform because of my own struggle with finding the right way to share my voice; I want to give not only myself but other people a platform to share what they want to say, too. That thing that had lingered in the back of their throats, the yells they have always wanted to bellow.
The mission statement for my project is “a paper with a voice,” because I want it to be a catalyst for change and an incentive for activism through art and writing. The act of sharing your voice is activism in so many respects. I have learned through my own struggles in finding my voice that it takes a great deal of courage to speak your mind and be confident in your words. I hope that ABOUT helps people who want to try and find it within themselves to speak their mind and share their story.
The theme for ABOUT paper’s first issue is “what does activism mean to you?” Submit your work here.
By Zoe Allen, 17