This past week, I had an article that went to print in my local paper. To my surprise, a lot more people seemed to read it than I thought, and to those who did see it, I’d like to say thank you. This story was about racial profiling in the Bay Area.
Now, if you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ll know that I’ve written on this subject, sporadically at times throughout pieces, and more in-depth back in post #5, The Life of a Black Student in Silicon Valley. This piece was inspired by a Latina friend of mine who chose to speak up following her and her friends’ harassment at an Urban Outfitters at Stanford. I’ll leave the article linked right here.
Racial profiling happens in the liberal Bay Area, too
However, no matter how "liberal" or "woke" we as a community believe we are, racial prejudice and profiling persists…
I’ve been spending a lot of time just thinking about the possible reach of ideas, of articles I’ve been attempting to pitch to publications, all in hopes of getting stories like the former out in the open. When you’re from a very sheltered area, it truly makes you question what people think, and for people to understand that story, I am very grateful.
There are moments when I’ve felt like my voice won’t be heard. I’ve spent most of my life just thinking to myself, keeping ideas and thoughts all insulated. And the truth about that is no matter how innovative or insightful I am in my mind, it doesn’t matter if I don’t just share it. There is no way for people’s minds to change, no way for those who need to hear a message to actually understand its importance if we can’t say it.
I look towards the greats, those who didn’t shy away from spreading their stories. From Dr. King and John Lewis, to an much smaller scale like Ta-Nehisi Coates and even LeBron James, I chose to share my story because that was how I was able to learn, to become a better person, to further understand what it means to change the world. When Dr. King chose to write a letter from jail, or spoke in Memphis in that April of 1968, he told the story of a vision, a vision that had he chosen to stay quiet, we would never have been able to hear.
Those who have made an impact in society did something that some of us fail to do everyday: put their livelihoods on the line for the very essence of humanity. Obviously, most of us cannot afford this, both literally in terms of finances, and in terms of the obligations we have. But those who shared their truths with the world didn’t put any of these concerns to the forefront. They put everything out there for society to truly succeed and for it to become the place they envisioned in their minds.
Whenever you try to think about the moments in your life where someone influenced you, pushed you to be yourself, in spite of any odds telling you to behave otherwise, it was ultimately you who made that final step to do the right thing. I can’t go on an talking to you, the reader, had I not begun to at least try to understand myself, trust myself, believe in myself. Otherwise, I would not write. I would not speak up and proclaim how proud I am, of my heritage, of my experiences if I didn’t truly believe in myself.
Regardless of what you may think, someone will value you for the way you are, the way you think. It may not be those right next to you or around you. And that’s okay. Sometimes those around you, those who are closest in proximity, may be the people who need to hear your story, and in other cases, they don’t. But the internet gives everyone that chance. Someone will hear your story and support whatever you may be doing. Email your favorite writers, scientists, athletes, and professors. Share your story because you have the power to truly help someone discovery something about themselves. You would never know unless you try.
Whenever I think about my life, from its infancy, the first ever In-N-Out trip at two, all the way to now, sitting in my favorite coffee shop listening to Brockhampton writing to you, I’ve been searching for what fulfills me, what gives me the true joy in the world. The truth is I don’t know completely what that is yet. But, I know at least part of that joy is sharing my story and others stories that are important for the world to hear. It gives me a purpose to continue to work hard, to continue to do everything in my power to help make this world more compassionate and aware of the circumstances that affect the less fortunate. I’ll keep sharing my stories with everyone, to my timelines, in person, and everywhere possible, because if even one person begins to question their reality, or begins to think differently, then I’ve done my job.
Thanks for reading this week! Follow me on Twitter if you want to ever discuss anything and hear my spontaneous thoughts, and join the Silicon Valley Humanities Students Society if you’re a passionate SV humanities student who wants to join an awesome community! Also, if you want to see more of my work, visit my website!
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