The Crybaby Millennials Go Protesting

Last Friday, Nov 11, at 9:30am, a group of five UVa-Wise students stood on the low wall outside the Slemp Student Center to counter the alienating and oppressive rhetoric currently sweeping the nation.

Some had tape covering their mouths, which can be seen as symbolizing a lack of political voice in a country that needs to be constantly reminded thatBlack, Brown, Muslim, LGBT, Immigrant Lives Matter. I held a sign that stated, Unity & equality mean fighting for the oppressed in my handwriting in red Sharpie. Each person held a sign emblazoned with a message urging for equal rights and justice for all by re-evaluating and dismantling the current power structures designed to benefit primarily white, cisgendered, heterosexual men – End White Power Nowdeclared one large sign. We stood to silently implore for empathy, understanding and love between people who are often divided by seemingly unquestionable systems and constructs, such as race, gender, sexuality and class.

As the day continued, passersby joined the protest line on the wall, which was surveilled by two police officers. Tears fell as one student dropped his backpack, hugged his friends and stepped onto the wall beside them. I am trans and proud declared his quickly made sign, written on a piece of college-ruled paper. Another student wrote Love trumps hate and joined the line. There were more taped mouths and more scrawling handwriting pleading for less violence against minorities and more critical analysis of current events. Protesters came and went, going from the wall to class and back as the day wore on. At its largest point, approximately thirty students stood along the length of the wall.

At 2pm, the silent protest moved into the Chapel of All Faiths. We stood in the back of the crowded room while Chancellor Donna Henry led a forum to discuss the aftermath of the presidential election. Students had a chance to communicate their concerns here. Some of the protesters broke their silence and spoke at the microphone. Kaitlynn Davis, a senior at UVa-Wise, said, Before Trump was president, I thought I lived in a safe community. I really did. I never thought that I had anything to worry about. But now I feel as though any fear that I have is validated. 

She echoed the thoughts of many students and community members who are frightened by the repercussions of a Trump presidency. The country becomes insidious when headed by a president who routinely insults those who dont agree with him, mocked a reporter with a disability, bashes women who arent attractive to his standards, said the infamous misogynist quote, grab them by the pussy, has several pending sexual assault cases and posits racist and exclusionary laws such as a Muslim registry. It is alarming to consider that his running mate, Mike Pence, supports conversion therapy, using taxpayer dollars to fund a variety of tactics, including electric shocks, in the attempt to make LGBTQ youth heterosexual. All this public discrimination and alienation emboldens private attitudes and allows people to normalize these types of behaviours and ideas, creating a culture that accepts racism, sexism, ableism and other prejudiced and dehumanizing actions.

However, it is important to remember that a single election was not the catalyst to all these -isms. This is not Democrats versus Republicans; all people must consider their stance on these issues, which are longstanding and nuanced. This is a call to question systems that have been allowed to thrive on the backs of others for centuries. This is a plea to analyze our media, our ideologies, our theologies, our socialization. These things were not built in the time between Tuesdays election and Wednesday morning, nor will they be destroyed in such a moment.

What can we do to stem the hatred and legal discrimination? How can we challenge the problematic attitudes that seek to divide us from our fellow humans? Fridays protest was just the beginning of the new civil rights movement that will – must – sweep the country in a deep and intimate way. We must use our positions, whatever those are, to advocate for the vulnerable people who are afraid to go outside and live in a country that demonizes them for the color of their skin, their religion or their citizenship status. Sometimes advocating means standing in silence and holding signs that remind those oppressed that they are not alone; we will not forget them or allow others to trample on their rights as a human being. Sometimes it means civil disobedience, such as sit-ins and blocking a highway like MLK did, drawing attention to the cause and stating that human lives are more important than the continuation of commerce as usual. We must provide a visual that folks are willing to put their bodies on the line to create the kind of world we want to live in, as stated by Chicago activist Charlene Carruthers.

There has been a lot of focus lately on the role of Millennials. Some think they are whiny, complaining when they dont get what they want. Those people are halfway right. I promise to always whine and complain when I dont get the access to the womens health care/equal pay for equal work/end to domestic and sexual violence/legal and social equality that I want, and Ill whine and complain (also known as advocating) for what other oppressed groups want too. The participation trophies, awarded by the generation before, have come to symbolize the flawed system handed down from our parents – shiny and gold on the surface, plastic underneath.

The so-called crybaby Millennials will be the generation that is willing to sit, stand and march for equality. We will not tolerate injustice in the public and private spheres. We will not yield. We will not compromise. We will not stop. And if you dont quit, you win.

You May Also Like

6 thoughts on “The Crybaby Millennials Go Protesting

  1. lol “equality” by segregating whites and blacks, destroying businesses, terrorizing innocents, making up conspiracy theories about how cops are all out to get you, blanketing entire sexes and races. Save it for your echo chamber, people know what the reality and truth is, you want control and suppression of opinion, groups, and ideas you don’t agree with. We’ve seen it happen at more left leaning campuses and we’ve quit listening to you elitists.

    1. We are not trying to control the suppression of opinion, we are trying to advocate for the expression of opinion of all minority groups. The truth of a fraction of our population is not the whole truth of our nation, and we as concerned citizens are trying to fight for our rights. No harm is being done intentionally, we are trying to prevent the harm being imposed onto us.

  2. This is ridiculous.. all lives matter and you shouldn’t fear for your lives. You all are over reacting to nothing. I have many LGBTQ friends and none of them are picked on or made fun of bur I’ve got a few white friends two of them get picked on a lot but nothing is said about that?

    1. Of course all lives matter, but the focus of BLM is to highlight the injustices that group faces. It’s a movement for equality by the oppressed group, and much like feminism, because it is a movement by the oppressed for the oppressed, people like you are offended by it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CAPTCHA * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.