Monday, January 30, 2017

DO NOT SHUT UP.

Yesterday, Meghan and I took a long walk around Brooklyn. Saturday, as you no doubt know, saw the introduction of an executive order from President Trump, "closing the nation to refugees and people from certain predominantly Muslim countries." (That's a quote from everyone's favorite FAKE NEWS provider, The New York Times.) Saturday night, as I showered and dressed to attend a friend's birthday party, I couldn't stop myself from rather obsessively looking at Twitter—all around the country people were gathering and protesting at airports. Lawyers were showing up. Translators were offering their assistance. Chants were echoing through those concrete roundabouts, "No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here."

From within my bubbles—the one I live in here in New York and the one that's presented to me on social media—I felt a swell. A rumble was building and turning into a roar. People I know in real life and people I've admired through the interwebs were speaking up, were going to JFK to protest, were posting (and re-posting) emergency information in hopes that their digital reach could help get it in front of the right eyeballs.

I went to my friend's birthday party on Saturday night. I didn't go to JFK. I went on that long walk with Meghan on Sunday, I didn't join the thousands of protestors in Battery Park. But as we walked, Meghan and I talked. And talked. (She also wrote some very eloquent thoughts on this same topic, which you should read.)

Usually we discuss life and boys and work, but yesterday we talked about this ban. We talked about what we thought it meant. I said I had a hope that all this extreme, hateful action from our new president and the extremely passionate backlash from the American people was going to usher in, eventually, a wide-spread shift in America towards tolerance and an embrace of our diversity. She countered that my perspective was perhaps too narrow and idealistic, since what I see and feel is coming straight out of one of the most liberal, diverse and accepting cities in the world (and that social media bubble I mentioned before). He won the election, and that cannot be overlooked. I conceded that she might be right.

Here's the part where this post veers even farther away from my usual content, so I'll give you the option to stop now or get into the muck with me.

// CLICK THROUGH TO KEEP READING //



I grew up in Seattle with smart open-minded parents, was educated in inclusive environments and have enjoyed the privilege of becoming an employed adult here in New York with friends and coworkers and fellow subway riders from all walks of life. I am lucky. This is a bubble.

I think I echo the sentiments of a lot of young people when I say that it feels new and strange (and tiring, but also good!) to feel so impassioned, so worried, so troubled by political developments in our country. I have, like a lot of you, been a passive but educated observer of governmental and global issues for most of my life. I've laid in bed at night thinking, "This is just what happens in a democracy. Tides shift and party agendas take turns holding all the power. This is normal."

But here we are. What, nine days in? I'm not sure exactly when, but we left normal behind a long time ago. For me, being a passive but educated observer is no longer going to work. I am late, I know. But luckily, "too late" doesn't exist in this instance. 

And so, as small as it may be, I'm using my platform here on this little blog to encourage everyone out there—especially those of you who are upset but not really doing anything about it, like me—to start taking action, and to prepare your mind and your heart to sustain these actions in the months and years to come. Let's join the swell and the rumble.

Join a '10 Actions in 100 Days' group in the wake of the #WomensMarch (I'm looking at you, Melanie!). Sign a petition. Make a donation to the ACLU! Protest. Retweet. Download The Indivisible Guide. Make a promise to keep educating yourself on issues that matter to you (hello, healthcare I pay for out of pocket as a freelancer) so that you can vote on them in the future.

And just because I can, allow me now to shout-out some people who are proving that there has never been a better time to wear many hats—especially if one of them is, gasp, a strong opinion on divisive matters. My former coworker and current captain of The Good Ship Teenvogue.com, Phil Picardi, has been using this considerable reach and influence to educate young people about real, consequential, weighty issues in our world. (Read this and then this!) My former editor also of The Good Ship Teenvogue.com, Tyler McCall, has been deftly balancing her awesome work as the deputy editor of Fashionista with a healthy, vocal dose of activism IRL and on social media. My friend Grace—tremendously successful blogger that she is—penned an essay on being a feminist on her site.

The brilliant thing about being a human is that we have the capacity to be many things at once: A fashion editor and an activist; a blogger and a crusader for human rights. A feminist and a freelancer and a single woman and a blogger and self-aware person and a New Yorker and a failure at some things and a success at others and frustrated and motivated and proud and worried and craving a cheeseburger.

What counts now, and what will count when we look back on our lives, is what we chose to do with all the things that we are.

I don't think I'm going to get everything right. There's a lot I don't understand, and a lot that I don't know. Writing this post is basically just a way for me to hold myself accountable for what I want to be, which is better, more educated, and more involved. It's also a way for me to say I hope you feel the same. The trying starts now.

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Hey also! This blog will continue to be what it's always been: A place for me to share what I love, what I wear, where I go and how I experience the world. I believe it's my right and my responsibility to write about all kinds of things because I have the privilege to do so. It's my gift, the thing I'm best at. So, not that I think you're going to tell me to, but just know that I will not shut up. 

It's also your right and your privilege and your gift to disagree, to unfollow, to simply scroll past the things you don't want to see. Please feel free. However, I hope you—my valued, treasured, awesome tribe of readers—will indulge me every once and a while to go off-script, and I hope you'll keep reading. I'll be back to your regularly scheduled programming in no time.

4 comments:

  1. As a long time but mostly silent reader of your blog, thank you, Taylor, for this post. I live in Los Angeles and I spent the past weekend at home, reading gut-wrenching stories of legally documented immigrants and refugees trapped at airports, instead of joining the protest at LAX. I laid in bed at night feeling like I could be doing more and your post helps me to realize I'm not alone in that feeling - I just need to take hold of one (or more) of the several ways I can help and actually do it. As residents of big, liberal, diverse cities, we do exist in a bubble where the hate and intolerance that exists in this country seems almost unfathomable. The one thing that also exists in this bubble, that I'm convinced is almost exclusive to open-mindedness and tolerance, is hope. I am proud to live in a place where seeing a woman in hijab or hearing a Muslim call to prayer doesn't give me pause and fill me with fear. Instead, I am buoyed by hope - hope, that just like the countless groups discriminated against throughout the sordid history of this nation, immigrants and refugees will maintain their rightful place in the diverse fabric of American society. Especially with the support of people who care to stand up, protest, vote and write on their behalf. Thanks again, Taylor.

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    1. Hi Nishika, thank you so much for taking the time to write this thoughtful comment. I think you're so right about the benefits of living in a bubble that feels so accepting and tolerant, and how it really does make it so hard to imagine the close-minded hatred that is so prevalent elsewhere. People who decide to take action and do something to aid the causes we believe in will end up making all the difference! We can do it!

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