Too old for activism

So, as promised, I shared my speech (see the pages section) with a group of people at a candlelight vigil for Take Back the Night. It happened almost a week ago, but it’s taken me this long to process it.

On the one hand, I felt a deep connection to the people who were there, the souls who shared their horror stories and gave of themselves for the process. It was a healing place, a growing place where we were supported. Or so I thought.

On the other, I have discovered that I am too old for college activism. The joking, the jostling, the buzzing excitement about getting to walk down a road screaming something was just distasteful to me. It felt as though the people involved were only half there for the cause – – the other half was because of the free candles and the chance to scream chants with their friends.

I felt again, as I often do with college functions, terribly on the outside. These weren’t my friends or allies, these were cliques as tight as any other, and while they gave lip service to support and alliance, that was where it ended. They are still, after all, college students. I am still a non-traditional student going back to school after ten years away. We shall never fit together.

I don’t regret going, but I do wish that the organizers and students had taken it a bit more seriously – that our desire to scream didn’t surpass our belief in the cause.


~ by oniongirl13 on April 30, 2009.

2 Responses to “Too old for activism”

  1. Hi,

    I’m sorry for what you experienced. In my area there is a Take Back the Night, but it is not affiliated with any college, so it is more adult.

    I had other issues, especially since it was so big and the walk each year is about two miles. Too long and often in very bad neighborhoods.

    I never fit in with a college group, so I can understand that feeling of being other, outsider. Even when I was the right age, even when I was in college.

    So perhaps you are not well suited to college activism, but there are tons of activism out there for other people. And there is also more mature methods of college activism going on daily, some that might be a better fit for you.


  2. I hear you on the take back the night. I don’t go, mainly because I dislike the organization that organizes it in my city, but also because I don’t like how unfocused it is. I’d like to see something more focused and serious too – everyone knowing the chants in advance, and the chants focused on a particular goal – either educating people (ie: Making sure passers-by can clearly understand what you’re saying,and the signs make sense from the sidewalk) and there are drums or instruments to give it momentum or some kind of group-internal focus (like chanting something that over time worked as an affirmation or magical spell). I’m not interested in just squawking about it, I want to take concerted action with allies.

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