On Wednesday, November 30th, I went to the Voices of Democracy even hosted by The Departments of Communication Arts and Sciences, African American Studies, Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies and The Center for Democratic Deliberation. Aside from the appeal of the free pizza, which is always a plus, the event was extremely entertaining and the ideas presented, speeches read, and photos that I saw were moving to say the least. Originally, I had planned to only stay an hour; however, I ended up being there for almost the entirety of the event because each presenter had a piece individual to themselves in meaning and just as entertaining and inspiring as the last.
The most inspirational piece I listened to was an original poem from an African American man centered around the current day racism that plights our nation. Specifically, it dealt with the actions such as police brutality from a mother’s and father’s perspective as the scanned the news for their child’s name. Hoping that it never appears. I was in awe by this piece because as I thought about it, my mother would never have this problem. My grandmother would avidly watch and read the news to record clips or cut out the articles if they had spoken about myself or any of my other siblings; furthermore, when handed the clipping or watching the story, the words that followed were always of praise. They were never of sorrow that would follow the news of one’s son being killed. I am fortunate enough to be privileged in that fact that as said earlier in the night: “Privilege is never having to think about it.” Lastly about this piece, the statement “Pick your battles” emphasized in this poem with the ultimate goal to choose to fight against the racism in our nation and fight for change.
While each presenter was reading the speech, poem or piece they had chosen, in the background, various images were being played on a loop. One was of a sign in what looked to be a protest. It read: “all necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” This is a fairly famous quote by Edmund Burke; however, the words never meant as much as they did in this setting. It made me question if, lately especially, good people have been sitting in the peanut gallery spectating and making comments rather than promoting and fighting against the evil that is seeming counteract the positive changes we as a nation have made in the past years. Moreover, it made me question what I could do to help promote the positive change which I wanted to see.
All in all, the pizza and extra credit may have been the original appeal for me to go to this event however, once there the word delivered and the meaning behind them were enough to keep me for the rest of the night. Even more, they kept me thinking about our nations democracy for weeks to come.