Thursday 21 May 2015
Follow-Through, the New Black or #EndSexualViolence Now!
I'm a 41 year old citizen of planet Earth and I yearn to be part of the change. I recycle. I pick up my pooch's excrement. I turn taps and lights off promptly. I practice the old adage of 'waste not want not'. I am a droplet in the ocean that surely does hit the shore eventually right?
But damned if I can find my follow through. Something always distracts me. I've become a bit ADD in my old age. Or is it ADHD .... so hard to keep up with the labels anymore!
For instance, six months ago I began working in a small business that doesn't recycle. Yes that's a travesty, but that was a few blogs back :). For the first month there, I collected every single recyclable container and did the late night bag-lady walk home. Yes ... I literally carried a jumbo garbage bag of empty clanking juice and pop bottles all the way home and quietly dumped them into my tenement's recycling bins out back.
The effort made me feel good about myself ... for a while. But somewhere I lost the momentum. I doubted that my drop actually hit the shore. My follow through was nowhere to be found.
I see others with follow through though. I see them everywhere. I admire them, wishing I could be more like that. Want to be more like them. Like whom you ask? Well there's my friends in B.C. who, with the help of their extended growing season, grow enough fruit and veggies every season to feed a small country! Follow through and gardening go hand-in-hand, illustrated yearly by my gardening genius folks who start precious seedlings indoors every February.
Follow-through is everywhere. It's in the smallest routine moments, and it's in the every daily. I hear about it on the radio and I watch it on tv. Today I read about it's presence for the last year on the campus of Columbia University where a student named Emma Sulkowicz showed not only follow-through, but some mad core strength too!
You may remember reading or hearing about Emma. Her story is here in her own words. In protest of Columbia University's complacency in regards to reported cases of sexual assault, Emma has been carrying around her fifty pound mattress. She carried it everywhere this past year. And she carried it with her when she crossed the floor to graduate on Tuesday.
Talk about taking a life-shattering experience and turning it into a droplet that DOES indeed hit the shoreline!! Emma made her protest into her senior year art thesis and titled it "Carry That Weight". Thanks to this protest and Emma's incredible follow-through, changes have been made in how reports of sexual assault are handled. You can read more here.
This one human's follow-through ignited a conversation all over North America about sexual assault on campus and the transparency of all college and university's claims of safety. I live in Ontario, Canada and I remember this story. I admired Emma then, though I knew nothing about her.
This gets me to re-evaluating my own follow-through or lack thereof. If Emma's follow through could do so much, could mine as well? I mean, do you think if I protested I could make change too? My city makes businesses pay to have recyclables picked up so most go in the garbage. Do you think that little 'ol me could change that? That clanking bag of recyclables could become my protest!!
Emma Sulkowicz is being the change. Her actions of vivid follow-through deserve the utmost respect. Can we as a society of loving humans exhibit this same follow-through and end sexual violence once and for all? I'm thrilled to say that we're well on our way in YGK to doing our part! My local MPP Sophie Kiwala has begun an initiative to extend that follow through in our area of the world. It takes a community y'know. Check it out here and take part too :)