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Not a time for silence

The Gatepost Editorial Board

On Oct. 6, Justice Brett Kavanaugh was appointed to the Supreme Court following a hearing and an incomplete FBI investigation into claims of sexual assault made by Christine Blasey Ford and two other women.

People across the country were understandably angry. During the hearings, Kavanaugh conducted himself in a manner that showed he is incapable of remaining level-headed and impartial when controversial issues are being addressed.

Putting aside your political beliefs, his meltdown in the courtroom proves he is unfit for the Supreme Court or for any court in our country.

But this editorial is not about Kavanaugh – we’ve all heard enough about him. This editorial is about you and about what you can do for your community in the wake of a decision that threatens the rights more than half our nation’s population.

In the last few weeks, thousands of people marched on Washington protesting Kavanaugh’s nomination and subsequent confirmation.

They contacted their senators. They wrote op/ed pieces to nationally syndicated newspapers. And you as a college student have the ability – some might even say the responsibility – to enact change, too.

If you are angry, do something about it. Contact your local and state representatives. Pen your own angry op/ed

Because the truth is, we aren’t newly doomed.

Instances of racism, sexism, and violence – both in quiet moments and on an astounding scale – stain our country’s history and have plagued our nation long before the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements were conceived.

Despite the courageous activism by college students just like you, this culture of intolerance persists and was the precursor that made the Kavanaugh confirmation possible.

You have the ability to raise your voice in moments of injustice. Just by being a college student in Massachusetts, you have a position of power and privilege from which to speak.

If you are white or male, that privilege increases exponentially. This privilege is not an inherently bad thing. You can wield it as your weapon against injustice.

Your actions may seem insignificant compared to marching on Washington – which you can also do – but you can create a groundswell of ideological change directly in your community.

Your screams are important in the face of blatant injustice, but we also need your measured, consistent voice speaking up during the subtler moments, when someone’s humanity is stripped or attacked by an offhand comment.

When someone says something racist and you don’t speak up, when someone is abused and you ignore their outcry, or when moments of prejudice pass and you don’t address them – you become part of a larger, systematic problem.

As human rights activist Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

Maybe you don’t know where to start, but our campus is full of like-minded individuals who want to break free of neutrality and engage in political activism where it all begins – right here at home.

There is a newly-formed chapter of the organization IGNITE here at FSU. It aims at providing young women with the opportunity to get involved in politics at the ground level. IGNITE’s mission is to “build political ambition when girls and young women are forming their identities and aspirations.” IGNITE’s first meeting is on Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in McCarthy 419.

Don’t let your anger fester in silence. Neutrality has never instigated change.

If you wish to change the culture of this campus, the culture of your community, you must foster that change.

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