A Time for Community to Come Together

travel ban youth perspective

The Time For Community Has Arrived

By Arathi Devandran

This morning, my best friend texted me, asking me if the news he was reading about America was real. Am I actually awake, he asked, mildly horrified. Are Muslims actually being banned from entering the country?

travel ban

photo credit: AJ Twitter

My response was a series of emojis to express my own displeasure at the state of the world.

In the past few months, news has been dominated by unpleasant rhetoric. Women have been termed “nasty”, anyone who looks/acts/believes differently to the majority has come under attack for their varied beliefs and life choices and discord has been slowly, and insidiously sowed in multi-cultural and multi-religious societies all around the world.

I live in a country that is geographically far-removed from the North American continent. And yet, it is the 21st century, year 2017. It is foolish and naïve for us to believe that what happens elsewhere has no impact on our individual lives.

But there is a slow awakening of consciousness. To find ways to address mistruths, and to protect ourselves from what is unfolding around us. We are bearing witness to this in multiple ways.

travel ban

Photo credit: AJ Twitter feed

News of racist hate-speech makes us more conscious of what we say and how we say it. We have seen what democracy has done elsewhere, and we reflect on our own political systems. We are trying to be kinder to others, and more importantly, to ourselves. We reflect, and we try our best to survive.

Though troubled these times might be, it forces upon us humility and gratitude. Humility, to understand that what we have (both the good, and the bad) is transient. Gratitude, for all that is going well and right in our lives at present.

Perhaps, more importantly, we see the rise of the community around us.

For as much as there are attempts at dividing, and spreading fear, hate and anger, there is an active movement of people coming together, of walking alongside one another, of working towards a common goal.

I scroll through my Twitter feed and it is filled with pictures of protests and demonstrations. There are conversations between different people I follow, offering aid, sharing contact details – snippets of communication that link people from around the world together – a joining of hands. Hands belonging to individuals of different races, genders, sexualities, ages.

photo credit: We the people

photo credit: We the people

This is heartening.

It is also heartening to see that the young people of today are actively participating in this movement. They are contributing their energies to creating and fighting for the change that they want to see, even in the smallest of ways. Some are opening up their homes to friends and family who are in need of comfort. Others who have legal expertise are providing aid for those in need. Several others are using art to advocate for freedom and women’s rights.

Little things that make the movement so much bigger.

It makes me proud to see this movement driven by the youth of today. It makes me proud to be part of this community that continues to rise up, up, up.

Because it is clear, so clear, that to survive this time of tumult, community is essential.

And I for one, am glad to see, that the community, has arrived.

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