We were oblivious when we were younger.
Unaware, but not blissfully so — there is no bliss in ignorance.
Our privilege lies in the fact that injustices hid in plain sight instead of society's shackles chaining us from birth; only as turmoil stews does reality rear its ugly head for us to see.
We are older, not yet wiser, a little scared, more than outraged — perpetually battered with lives that matter but actions that speak otherwise; suddenly the curtain uplifts and we finally glimpse the battle that has always been raging upstage.
If we don't speak up now, when will we speak up ever?
It seems that this fit of fury lasts as long as the raging fires of adolescence; why else would the loudest voices be teens demanding for change?
Is it simply that we only see a sliver of injustice, that we don't yet recognize the nuances that the rest of the world sees, excuses that somehow justify atrocities?
Or perhaps, we are still naïve in our persistent belief that revolution can be achieved — we have not yet been thrashed and thrown by the system and so we hold on to the callow notion that we can make a difference?
Or maybe our flames of indignation never get snuffed out, only obscured by smog and smoke until we turn a blind eye: as we are failed again and again we no longer jump at bigotry and renounce brutality, exposure therapy placating the warriors at heart. Knowing the truth of the world and the rules revolving it puts us in our place, until we slink back into the shadows, bystander effect immobilizing protest signs, sink down, sit back, and simply gape at the torches of the few that march on.
But hey — I’m still speaking here. And I still believe in change. So who cares if these are just romanticized ramblings of a child?
If we stand for nothing now, then we'll fall for anything later. This is a call to arms, Generation Z: thrown us into any situation; we can make it out together. The dreaded 2020 is no match for our spirits, so long as they aren’t dampened by our tears. Tear your eyes away from the screen for a minute, take a break and a breath and that sigh you’ve been holding onto— ask yourself “why” the world screams at us to stay silent. And when the world screams at you, you better scream right back.
Scream for the voiceless; scream for those that are drowning in screams of their own. There is nothing more frightening, enlightening than a voice refusing to back down. Scream with me, Gen Z, for the planet and its people— scream with me until all we can hear in the chaos is harmony. They call us dreamers, but we’ll show them that we’re screamers. Unafraid to shake the bars of our cages, unafraid to rally with allies, unafraid to be afraid and still be brave.
This is the generation where we fight because and love despite. This is the generation where we take the first steps to realizing that we can create change, and hope, and a second chance for the world. This is the generation where we finally say no to the system that’s betrayed us, our families, our people.
Perhaps we are mistaken. At least, that’s what they’ll tell us. Go back to your slacktivism and leave the worrying to us. We’re more than worriers, we’re warriors. And we won’t back down from a fight, even when the world tells us it’s not worth fighting for. To which we tell them: it’s our future that we’re fighting for. A future where our race doesn’t determine our fate, where our love doesn’t give us hate, where our planet isn’t left desolate.
Rise up, Gen Z. Stand tall, despite the heat, and together we’ll create tomorrow. After all, they can’t burn us all.