With all the recent Occupy movements and as a fellow Cal student, I thought it only appropriate that I make this post. hardboiled: the Asian Pacific American newsmagazine, just released its newest issue today and as the layout intern and cover artist, I would like to expand on this issue’s cover art, since it is related to recent events at hand.
About the cover: Occupy Wall Street. Occupy Oakland.Occupy Berkeley. Earthquakes, fires, the flood in Thailand. This covers brings together the idea that with everything going on around us, locally and globally, it is easy to become preoccupied with our own issues. However, we must not forget that no matter how big or small, all of these events have a ripple effect and eventually reach us — whether we notice it or not, tomorrow, or even years later. (hardboiled issue 15.2, page 2)
This concept came together because many of the articles in this issue centered around the occupy movement, as well as less-covered topics like the Thailand flood and the Yue Yue hit-and-run incident in China. However, I was most influenced by a recent conversation.
I was eating lunch with some exchange students on the day of the Occupy Berkeley strike on Tuesday, November 14. We were about to part ways, and as I did not have class for another three hours, they turned to me and asked, “So what are you going to do now?”
“I’m going to participate in the strike,” I replied.
“But why?” one asked me, “You are a fourth year, so doesn’t it not really matter to you?”
This got me thinking. I paused, before telling them that, yes, I am a fourth year. But this isn’t just about me. It doesn’t just affect me, nor just students. This affects everyone, and we can’t just keep on thinking about ourselves. If every individual just continues to think about themselves in that sense, then won’t it just be a vicious circle, with no progress and no change?
This is why I chose to participate in the Occupy Berkeley strike. For the future.
As I marched through the streets and raised my voice, I felt empowered.
We should not take for granted this freedom to make ourselves heard. And college and the political activism that occurs on campus is one of the greatest ways to exercise this right. Besides making the college experience all the more memorable, it is one of the best times to participate in political movements. I was recently at a panel where a UC Berkeley graduate was proud to say that she stood with us, but as a now working parent, she is torn between striking and pitching tents (or floating them) with us through the cold nights, and taking care of her family at home.
The thing to remember during strikes is to pay attention. Stay informed. Keep yourself updated with news before the strike and during it. (Yay, smart phones!). Where are the police, and where do they stand in terms of this movement? Have there been warnings about possible police force being used? Take photos and videos and spread awareness. Be mindful of your surroundings as you march. Be aware of your rights and know if they are being violated. Stand together, not just for safety, but to show solidarity.
So next time there’s a strike on campus, don’t just go home and catch up on sleep. You can always sleep another day, but how often are you going to be part of a powerful, history-changing movement?
Photo courtesy of Andrew Ratto via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).