We must unite to create a better future


Danny Timpona

Over the last few weeks students from around the country, particularly students on the East coast, have been organizing a march that will take place Monday, Nov. 9 in Washington, D.C.

This march, which will focus on alerting lawmakers to the fact that the desires of the populous matter, was organized primarily by students and is supported by organizations like 350.org, United We Dream, LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) and many others.

The main reason for the march is this: “We need political leaders with plans that are in line with the imperatives of justice on race, climate change and immigration. Keep fossil fuels in the ground. Protect the lives of black, brown, poor and immigrant communities. Reinvest in healthy jobs, renewable energy and an economy that works for all of us. Let’s get it done.”

Overall, the action ties climate, race and immigration justice all into one march in the capital.Why the second week of November?

Because it’s exactly one year before the 2016 presidential election. Why students? Because it is time that Washington starts listening to our generation and creating agendas that work for the future of everyone, not just for the futures of executives running Fortune 500 companies and billionaires like the Koch Brothers (who plan on spending a whopping $900 million in an attempt to heavily sway the 2016 election).

Students from Swarthmore, American University, Georgetown, UNC, the University of Pittsburgh and many more will be gathering in D.C. on this day to march and demand that Washington listens to what we believe will create a better future.

I shifted to “we” because several students from Wake Forest University will also be attending this action for justice on race, climate change and immigration.

Some say we don’t have an activism-minded campus or a culture that cares about issues outside of our private, egocentric lives. I agree.

The culture we have created on our campus, which also exists in many other elite institutions around the country, is a culture of students that refuse to look outside of their own special interests (much like many corporations around the world).

This campus culture deems it more imperative to get an extra .2 boost in your GPA than go to a community forum talking about the issues that are prevalent on Wake Forest’s campus (and how campus administrators are failing to address them).

Wake Forest brews a culture that falsely promises us that as long as we get a job and make money, everything else will be okay.

Wake Forest brews a culture that encourages us to believe getting drunk in a basement or going to a date function will always be superior to just hanging out and discussing intellectual passions and curiosities or going to a conference to learn more about issues you are interested in.

Right now, we are living in a society where a political party strategically uses a rhetoric that dehumanizes and devalues the lives of immigrants, Muslims, African Americans and many other marginalized groups because it knows it will get more votes that way.

We are living in a society where we simply accept the fact that a fossil fuel company, ExxonMobil, knew for the last 30 years about what their actions would create (accelerated global warming) and instead denied the existence of this warming to pad their profit margins.

The issues of race and climate justice are related.

Climate disasters and environmental exploitation hurt communities of color and communities with lower socioeconomic statuses the most.

When companies pollute a river or contaminate the air of a community, you’ll often times only hear about it when it affects predominantly white communities, which is why you rarely hear about such instances. Fossil fuel companies know this is the way the system works, and they continue to exploit marginalized areas and communities with smaller voices.)

Devaluing the lives of the most marginalized peoples goes hand in hand with devaluing the earth.

So I must ask: what are we waiting for? Have we become so numb to what happens outside of our Wake Forest bubble that we can’t even imagine using our voice and education to create a better world for others? Do we really think that getting a high paying job is all that matters in life?

It is time to change this story on our campus and our country.

This is why I, and many other Wake Forest students, will be going to Washington, D.C. to join forces with young people from many different backgrounds who are committed to creating a better future for our country, a future where you aren’t discriminated or devalued because of your race, class or immigration status.

We desire to create a future that values the Earth as more than just an economic resource and fosters life in the process. We hope to create a future that works for us all, not just the lucky and privileged few.

This all reminds me of my favorite Einstein quote: “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”

It’s time to start doing something and standing in solidarity with the most voiceless and marginalized.

Because if we don’t, who will?